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

The old Ranger was underpowered. The beastmaster was extremely underpowered. I played a 13th level Ranger Beastmaster in a one-shot game and the Ranger needed the companion to do anything resembling reasonable damage, and then was still behind the Fighter by a considerable margin. However, the companion spent most of the time near death and having to be protected, which put the Ranger even further behind. It also consumed a ton of resources in healing and buffs just to make it semi-viable.

The UA Revised Ranger is now about middle of the road for the character classes. So please don't encourage any nerfing.

As for "dipping", I don't think it is that big of a problem at most tables. Sure munchkins and powergamers might play that way, but most players don't. Nerfing a class to spite powergamers is what crippled the Ranger in the first place. All that said the simple fix is to just switch Natural Explorer and Primeval Awareness.

Primeval Awareness at 1st level just lets you avoid some animal encounters in a very flavorful, rangery, way and know the general direction and distance of your favored enemies. And conveniently the Ranger gets Favored Enemy at 1st level. Plus since it no longer requires a spell slot there is no need to wait till at least 2nd level when the Ranger gets spells.

This moves Natural Explorer to 3rd level, which is when you choose a Ranger conclave. This is a significant investment into a class. Consider that 3rd level is when primary casters are getting 2nd level spells, the Fighter is getting Improved Critical, Combat Superiority dice or spells and the Paladin is getting immunity to disease, Oath spells, and Channel Divinity. By 3rd level a class is truly supposed to come into their own, so this is a good level for Natural Explorer.

I LOATHE that Multiclassing is literally the only reason we must do this, but for those concerned about it, this is the best, most reasonable, and cleanest "fix" to the issues. If Sorcerer's don't get Metamagic til level 3, pushing off Natural Explorer until 3 isn't going to kill anything.

Or, if need be, as others have suggested, we can move the combat benefits (advantage on initiative and attacks against creatures who haven't acted yet) to Primeval Awareness at 3. I guess always being the first to act and always more "alert" would go along with "Primeval Awareness" though, in terms of matching fluff.
 

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nswanson27

First Post
So, we can’t even go a full two days before rangers return. Ah well.

One thing I remember never getting a clear and final answer on was the “ignore darkvision” language on the deep stalker. It seemed to say that for you darkness counts as darkness for the purpose of hiding instead of dim light. But the language is very strange, and it leads to some rather odd moments because it is a hard ability to remember for a DM.


I’ve actually had almost the complete opposite situation. I’ve never seen any one keep playing an Arcane Trickster or theif for that matter, but I almsot always have at least one assassin on the team. I do houserule actual surprise rounds, and even then they don’t often get the big crit, but they are often looking to get it.

Currently I’ve got a party of 2 Assassins, a SCAG Swashbuckler, Wizard, Sun Soul Monk and a PHB Beastmaster

.

Fair enough. Not pretending that I have a full understanding of who plays what out there. And I agree there are probably assassins that don't do well setting themselves up for success. However, even with trying to do things right, you need:
1: a group you can actually sneak up on
2: good stealth roll
3: good initiative roll

On top of this, have an exit strategy. Scouting ahead by yourself is very dangerous.
It seems like this is a little over-the-top for assassins to do their "assassin" thing - particularly the initiative piece. IMO this will help them have more of a real presence in the party, mechanically speaking. Anyways, I'll stop sidetracking this thread now.

On the deep stalker part - agreed. If they want us to play test this correctly - they need to clarify what exactly we're playtesting.
 
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Fair enough. Not pretending that I have a full understanding of who plays what out there. And I agree there are probably assassins that don't do well setting themselves up for success. However, even with trying to do things right, you need:
1: a group you can actually sneak up on
2: good stealth roll
3: good initiative roll

On top of this, have an exit strategy. Scouting ahead by yourself is very dangerous.
It seems like this is a little over-the-top for assassins to do their "assassin" thing - particularly the initiative piece. IMO this will help them have more of a real presence in the party, mechanically speaking. Anyways, I'll stop sidetracking this thread now.

I don't think it is a major side track, because it actually ties into one of the reasons why people are saying Ranger 1 assassins are really powerful.

The way I run it, Assassin doesn't need initiative to get the surprise. The surprise round is separate, then we roll initiative. (Mostly because I think it is weird for an enemy to react before I've done anything).

With that houserule, the fact that Rangers get advantage on initiative does nothing to help the assassin, nor actually does the attacking someone who hasn't acted giving you advantage. Initiative isn't established til after the potential crit hit, and assassins already get advantage against creatures that haven 't acted. Plus, Alert feat plus DEX class already gets you going before most any enemy most of the time. Deep Stalker still has the potential for issues, but that's 3 levels in so probably more acceptable...

Deep Stalker Swashbuckler, +10 movement, advantage on massive initiative score, enemies you attack can't use OA's, 2-3 attacks depending on dual-wield.

Man, all the Ranger multi-classes honestly sound like fun to me, unlike the warlock paladin builds or other things I've seen.
 


Greybeard_Ray

First Post
@ nswanson27:

Agreed. IF you play the 'combat-turn-sequence' AS WRITTEN, the Revised Ranger gets a boost, but NOT a game-breaking one. AND, if it's a Ranger/Assassin Dual-Class, YES, it has a good chance for a one-shot kill.

But as I posted in the missing "9000 pages", that IMMEDIATELY paints a big bull's-eye on the character:
"Him kill Grug-Nak! Kill HIM!!!"
Problem balanced.
 

nswanson27

First Post
@ nswanson27:

Agreed. IF you play the 'combat-turn-sequence' AS WRITTEN, the Revised Ranger gets a boost, but NOT a game-breaking one. AND, if it's a Ranger/Assassin Dual-Class, YES, it has a good chance for a one-shot kill.

But as I posted in the missing "9000 pages", that IMMEDIATELY paints a big bull's-eye on the character:
"Him kill Grug-Nak! Kill HIM!!!"
Problem balanced.

Sorry, I deleted that post. I realized that what I said would have to be a houserule as well by logical inference. But yes, I agree that assassins being able to assassinate without having to worry about initiative is balanced. Plenty of risk still, and they still have to make their stealth roll.
 

Greybeard_Ray

First Post
Overall this new iteration of ranger seems like a great improvement over the current one. However, the only thing I don’t like is favored enemy. ... so why keep favored enemy, as a main class feature no less. I don’t think that favored enemy adds so much to the overall image of being a ranger.

Favored Enemies/Bonus versus {CreatureType} has been a characteristic of the Ranger since they introduced the class. Originally, it was mostly Orcs or Giants. (you DO know what I'm Tolkien about, right? ;) ) Over the years, they have added, expanded, and further codified the options, but it's always been one of the core aspects of the identity of Ranger: "I protect Civilization from the threat of (fill-in-the-blank)'s out in the Wilderness".

That being said,

and as a general aside to everyone !

if you don't like it, don't use it. OR, don't make it a major bone of contention.
..."Gee, RangerRick, it's swell you have GIANT as a favored enemy, but we're stuck in the Underdark, and haven't seen any..."
 

Greybeard_Ray

First Post
To the Original Poster, and all participants in this thread:

I would like to apologize if I come off a little "strident" in my posts. This game has been a major part of my life for 42 years, and I've been involved in discussions/debates/arguments/wars... over it since about day 2.

Generally, this is a game of "Pretend", like "Cops-And-Robbers". It took the publishers (TSR/WotC) a few editions, but they finally acknowledged what most of us were doing anyway: ALL the rules are optional, use what you like, ...

And just play the game to have fun. That's what it's here for.

Ray
 

Lord Twig

Adventurer
Something missing from the multi-class dip discussion is what the class is giving up to get the dip.

So an Assassin/Ranger at 2nd level has advantage on initiative and attacks against creatures that have not yet acted and +2 damage to Humanoids (Favored Enemy), but a level 2 Assassin gets Cunning Action to Dash, Disengage or Hide.

Then at 3rd level the Assassin/Ranger finally get's his Cunning Action, but still only has Sneak Attack +1d6, while the level 3 Assassin now has Sneak Attack +2d6 and is now, well, an Assassin. You have advantage on creatures that have not yet attacked and if he hits it automatically crits. Now, am I crazy or is the advantage on creatures that have not yet attacked exactly the same benefit that the Ranger dip gave?

Continuing on! At 4th level the Assassin/Ranger now has Sneak Attack +2d6 and gets the Assassin sub-class. He gets advantage to attack creatures that have not yet gone, which does nothing since he already had that, and can now auto-crit if he hits a surprised creature. Yay? Meanwhile the pure Assassin 4 gets an ASI. So, +1 to hit and damage? Or a feat?

So tell me again how this breaks the Assassin.

*Note, as the Assassin isn't OGL, I'm going from memory on some of this. Don't have my books with me.
 
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Favored Enemies/Bonus versus {CreatureType} has been a characteristic of the Ranger since they introduced the class. Originally, it was mostly Orcs or Giants. (you DO know what I'm Tolkien about, right? ;) ) Over the years, they have added, expanded, and further codified the options, but it's always been one of the core aspects of the identity of Ranger: "I protect Civilization from the threat of (fill-in-the-blank)'s out in the Wilderness".

That being said,

and as a general aside to everyone !

if you don't like it, don't use it. OR, don't make it a major bone of contention.
..."Gee, RangerRick, it's swell you have GIANT as a favored enemy, but we're stuck in the Underdark, and haven't seen any..."

I am not strongly disagreeing with you in both of the things you say, regarding favored enemy always being part of the ranger and that it shouldn't be made a big deal when FE is not useful in a particular situation.

However, to me it feels as if favored enemy is "taking up design space" and something much more interesting could be put in its place. I wouldn't mind a subclass centered around having favored enemies and gaining specific abilities depending on the choice of FE. Also would anything be really lost if a renamed favored enemy gave advantage on wisdom (survival) and on intelligence to gain information checks to track creatures? The ranger is all round good at tracking creatures (wisdom (survival)) and while you track a creature you slowly learn (intelligence) stuff about it (sleeping & eating habits, maybe weaknesses, etc).

Again, not saying that it is not easily ignored, but how about thinking it the other way around? You have a tracking ability that mechanically applies to everyone, but you role play your character hating a specific group of creatures.

Cheers
 

nswanson27

First Post
Something missing from the multi-class dip discussion is what the class is giving up to get the dip.

So an Assassin/Ranger at 2nd level has advantage on initiative and attacks against creatures that have not yet acted and +2 damage to Humanoids (Favored Enemy), but a level 2 Assassin gets Cunning Action to Dash, Disengage or Hide.

Then at 3rd level the Assassin/Ranger finally get's his Cunning Action, but still only has Sneak Attack +1d6, while the level 3 Assassin now has Sneak Attack +2d6 and is now, well, an Assassin. You have advantage on creatures that have not yet attacked and if he hits it automatically crits. Now, am I crazy or is the advantage on creatures that have not yet attacked exactly the same benefit that the Ranger dip gave?

Continuing on! At 4th level the Assassin/Ranger now has Sneak Attack +2d6 and gets the Assassin sub-class. He gets advantage to attack creatures that have not yet gone, which does nothing since he already had that, and can now auto-crit if he hits a surprised creature. Yay? Meanwhile the pure Assassin 4 gets an ASI. So, +1 to hit and damage? Or a feat?

So tell me again how this breaks the Assassin.

*Note, as the Assassin isn't OGL, I'm going from memory on some of this. Don't have my books with me.

Good point on the benefit redundancy with Deep Stalker/Assassin, although this might come down to specific wording. Don't have PHB in front of me, but I seem to remember that assassin's advantage benefit ends when a creature has "taken a turn", not "taken an action". Meaning, by RAW, since surprised creatures don't get to act, they still have nonetheless taken a turn, so that wording would prevent straight assassin from gaining even advantage over a creature if they don't beat their initiative roll.
Although, if they are stealthed, this doesn't matter anyway, unless the assassin has a multiattack somehow from somewhere else.
 

Lord Twig

Adventurer
Good point on the benefit redundancy with Deep Stalker/Assassin, although this might come down to specific wording. Don't have PHB in front of me, but I seem to remember that assassin's advantage benefit ends when a creature has "taken a turn", not "taken an action". Meaning, by RAW, since surprised creatures don't get to act, they still have nonetheless taken a turn, so that wording would prevent straight assassin from gaining even advantage over a creature if they don't beat their initiative roll.
Although, if they are stealthed, this doesn't matter anyway, unless the assassin has a multiattack somehow from somewhere else.

I think they are worded the part about getting advantage on your attack the same. The part that requires surprise is the auto crit. So really all you are getting out of Ranger is advantage on initiative, ignore difficult terrain, and Favored Enemy. At fourth level a strait Assassin can boost his Dex by 2 or take Alert for a +5 bonus to initiative, can’t be surprised while conscious, and creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being hidden from you.

At 5th the Assassin/Ranger gets the ASI or feat while the strait Assassin gets Sneak Attack +3d6 and Uncanny Dodge.

No matter what the level, the multiclass will be missing something that the strait class would get. Some times it might be better, sometimes it's not. Honestly it looks pretty balanced.

Edit: Oh, the Assassin/Ranger would also get all this neat rangery stuff:

• Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.• Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.• Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.• If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.• When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.• While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
 

Lord Twig

Adventurer
I am not strongly disagreeing with you in both of the things you say, regarding favored enemy always being part of the ranger and that it shouldn't be made a big deal when FE is not useful in a particular situation.

However, to me it feels as if favored enemy is "taking up design space" and something much more interesting could be put in its place. I wouldn't mind a subclass centered around having favored enemies and gaining specific abilities depending on the choice of FE. Also would anything be really lost if a renamed favored enemy gave advantage on wisdom (survival) and on intelligence to gain information checks to track creatures? The ranger is all round good at tracking creatures (wisdom (survival)) and while you track a creature you slowly learn (intelligence) stuff about it (sleeping & eating habits, maybe weaknesses, etc).

Again, not saying that it is not easily ignored, but how about thinking it the other way around? You have a tracking ability that mechanically applies to everyone, but you role play your character hating a specific group of creatures.

Cheers

Wanted to reply to this...

By adding the +2 damage they have given the Ranger a minor, and situationally limited, combat buff. A buff that Greybeard_Ray pointed out has a very long history behind it. In addition one of the major complaints of the Ranger was that Favored Enemy was essentially worthless. Your suggestion takes it back to that "worthless" state.

Do not like. ;)
 

Wanted to reply to this...

By adding the +2 damage they have given the Ranger a minor, and situationally limited, combat buff. A buff that Greybeard_Ray pointed out has a very long history behind it. In addition one of the major complaints of the Ranger was that Favored Enemy was essentially worthless. Your suggestion takes it back to that "worthless" state.

Do not like. ;)

I am just saying that the non-combat favored enemy part could be made to an early level ranger class feature that applies to all creatures and frees up space for another ability at later levels. Personally, I would prefer if the tracker/hunter aspect of the ranger (outside the hunter subclass) was represented by something else other than favored enemy. For me the less levels "occupied" by favored terrain/enemy the more interesting the class becomes.
 


Faenor

Explorer
Something missing from the multi-class dip discussion is what the class is giving up to get the dip.

So an Assassin/Ranger at 2nd level has advantage on initiative and attacks against creatures that have not yet acted and +2 damage to Humanoids (Favored Enemy), but a level 2 Assassin gets Cunning Action to Dash, Disengage or Hide.

Then at 3rd level the Assassin/Ranger finally get's his Cunning Action, but still only has Sneak Attack +1d6, while the level 3 Assassin now has Sneak Attack +2d6 and is now, well, an Assassin. You have advantage on creatures that have not yet attacked and if he hits it automatically crits. Now, am I crazy or is the advantage on creatures that have not yet attacked exactly the same benefit that the Ranger dip gave?

Continuing on! At 4th level the Assassin/Ranger now has Sneak Attack +2d6 and gets the Assassin sub-class. He gets advantage to attack creatures that have not yet gone, which does nothing since he already had that, and can now auto-crit if he hits a surprised creature. Yay? Meanwhile the pure Assassin 4 gets an ASI. So, +1 to hit and damage? Or a feat?

So tell me again how this breaks the Assassin.

*Note, as the Assassin isn't OGL, I'm going from memory on some of this. Don't have my books with me.

From what I've read, 'giving up', wrt multiclassing, means at the max level end. So if you mc 1 level, you only give up capstone PvP 20 features. Mc only delays lower level abilities, and since you can mc any time, It's up to each player to choose their priorities.
 

Faenor

Explorer
Or maybe I don't understand what you are saying. Is it comparing ranger to rogue abilities? Are you saying the abilities are redundant and don't stack?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I LOATHE that Multiclassing is literally the only reason we must do this, but for those concerned about it, this is the best, most reasonable, and cleanest "fix" to the issues. If Sorcerer's don't get Metamagic til level 3, pushing off Natural Explorer until 3 isn't going to kill anything.

Or, if need be, as others have suggested, we can move the combat benefits (advantage on initiative and attacks against creatures who haven't acted yet) to Primeval Awareness at 3. I guess always being the first to act and always more "alert" would go along with "Primeval Awareness" though, in terms of matching fluff.

While I don't think the dipping issue is a real issue, I think the best fit for the combat benefits is strongly in Primeval Awareness, from a thematical standpoint. It's has little to do with being an explorer, and everything to do with awareness. The other natural explorer benefits, IMO, belong strongly at level 1. Those are what you should get by taking one level in ranger.


Regarding favored enemy, I think it's fine, but I'd also be fine with making it more specific creature types, and adding an ability to spend an action studying a single creature, and gain all favored enemy benefits against that creature, for at least 24 hrs.

Or, making the benefits more generic in target, with varied by F.E. choice. This variant would be more of a guiding hand ranger ability, making the whole party more effective against a target. So, you pick a feature type, and gain a benefit based on them, like ability to shut down regeneration, and can grant your allies that ability as an action, and it lasts an hour or something.
Useful against a number of foes, and more dynamic, which any situational ability should be, IMO.
 

Lord Twig

Adventurer
Or maybe I don't understand what you are saying. Is it comparing ranger to rogue abilities? Are you saying the abilities are redundant and don't stack?

A little of both. The advantage to attacks against opponents that have not yet acted (or had a turn) is the same (I believe) for both the Ranger and the Assassin. So those don't stack.

What is "given up" is whatever you would normally get for that level as a strait Assassin. Frequently you will hear that the Assassin is only giving up Stroke of Luck at 20th level, and who plays that high anyway! But that's not true. You are giving something up at every single level you play. If you are playing at 15th level, then you gave up Slippery Mind and another d6 of Sneak Attack for the 1st level Ranger benefits. If you are playing at 6th level you are giving up Expertise. And so on.
 

While I don't think the dipping issue is a real issue, I think the best fit for the combat benefits is strongly in Primeval Awareness, from a thematical standpoint. It's has little to do with being an explorer, and everything to do with awareness. The other natural explorer benefits, IMO, belong strongly at level 1. Those are what you should get by taking one level in ranger.

I think the immunity to difficult terrain belongs with Natural Explorer. But yes, I agree, the "awareness" features regarding initiative and those who haven't acted yet. But I just really hope we don't lose the beast benefits in Primeval Awareness. That is possibly my favorite new thing in this version of the Ranger. Such a cool, flavorful thing.
 

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