D&D 5E [+] Ways to fix the caster / non-caster gap

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I like the 1E Ranger, but the 1E Ranger had BOTH Wizard (magic-user) and Druid spells.
Yes, in very limited quantity and only at high-ish levels.

It wasn't even a half-caster. More like a one-eighth caster. :)
Magic is integral to my idea of a Ranger
Yeah, given that, we're probably almost talking about two completely different classes. I see them as surviving mostly on their toughness and hardiness, with their use of magic being almost a throw-in at higher levels and not at all core to the class.

There's a huge gap between a quasi-magic-using Drizz't type swashbuckler with an animal companion and the warrior-first heavy tank Ranger I'm thinking of.
and IMO the best changes to the class in Tasha's was giving them more spells through Primal Awareness and invisibility as a bonus action through Nature's Veil.
Always-on invisibility without a device? That's pretty powerful in most D&D, but not 5e which has nerfed invisibility to near uselessness.
 

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ECMO3

Hero
Yes, in very limited quantity and only at high-ish levels.

It wasn't even a half-caster. More like a one-eighth caster. :)

Yes and no. Their power was greater than a half caster, but the number of spells was less.. A 9th level Ranger cast Magic Missile the same as a 9th level Magic User and 5 times as good as a first level Magic-User.

Also a high Wisdom (and 15 was the minimum) means they got extra Druid spells.


Always-on invisibility without a device? That's pretty powerful in most D&D, but not 5e which has nerfed invisibility to near uselessness.

It is pretty useful. It flats stops most spells that would target you. Not all but most. Then it gives enemies disadvantage on enemies attacks and eliminates AOOs. That is not too shabby.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yes and no. Their power was greater than a half caster, but the number of spells was less.. A 9th level Ranger cast Magic Missile the same as a 9th level Magic User and 5 times as good as a first level Magic-User.

Ah - I always interpreted it as the Ranger at 9th cast like a 1st-level MU (and at 8th like a 1st-level Druid), and went from there.
Also a high Wisdom (and 15 was the minimum) means they got extra Druid spells.
14 was the minimum, but most would, yes.
It is pretty useful. It flats stops most spells that would target you. Not all but most. Then it gives enemies disadvantage on enemies attacks and eliminates AOOs. That is not too shabby.
Better than nothing, sure, but if you can't hide while invisible that's a big nerf from what I'm used to. :)
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Just because that is what they are for does not mean they should be the best at it, and I think improving them in other areas is a better way to buff the fighter class specifically.

A new Fighter who is better at things other than fighting while being no better at fighting than the current fighter is still better than the current, the "gap" from Fighter to caster is smaller and other classes can still be relevant and even dominant in the fighting role.

If the Fighter's role is to be "the best" at fighting always ...... Then what is the role of the Monk? Shouldn't they be "the best" at something? Shouldn't the Barbarian be "the best" at something? Switching gears, shouldn't the Sorcerer, already very powerful, be "the best" at something?

I don't think there is any such thing as a magic-free class in D&D considering the subclass options, however Barbarians and Rogues are less magical than Fighters and less powerful. There are some very high-magic fighter subclass options.

Since this is about closing the gap between casters and non-casters, something that improves the fighter specifically (which is already the most powerful non-caster) does not really close the gap from weakest non-caster (Monk) to strongest caster (Wizard) at all. That gap is the same size unless we come up with options that either buff the Monk (potentially with other non-casters) or nerf the Wizard.
okay instead of 'the best' try thinking of it as 'the most reliable' and 'second best at everything of nonmagic combat', sure the monk might be more mobile and better at handing out effects, the barbarian might tank better and deal out more damage, but they also have their respective drawbacks, but the fighter, the fighter ought to be right on their heels on their strengths and ahead of them on their weaknesses,

if the other classes have 5,4,3,3,3 in combat the fighter has 4,4,4,4,4.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
okay instead of 'the best' try thinking of it as 'the most reliable' and 'second best at everything of nonmagic combat', sure the monk might be more mobile and better at handing out effects, the barbarian might tank better and deal out more damage, but they also have their respective drawbacks, but the fighter, the fighter ought to be right on their heels on their strengths and ahead of them on their weaknesses,

if the other classes have 5,4,3,3,3 in combat the fighter has 4,4,4,4,4.
Effective, but not very sexy. It will definitely appeal to a certain kind of player.
 

ECMO3

Hero
okay instead of 'the best' try thinking of it as 'the most reliable' and 'second best at everything of nonmagic combat', sure the monk might be more mobile and better at handing out effects, the barbarian might tank better and deal out more damage, but they also have their respective drawbacks, but the fighter, the fighter ought to be right on their heels on their strengths and ahead of them on their weaknesses,

if the other classes have 5,4,3,3,3 in combat the fighter has 4,4,4,4,4.

I think they are already that. A fighter is generally good at combat with weapons in a very large variety of circumstances. More so than any class I think.

While there are classes, including casters, that can be better than them at certain things in combat those classes have weaknesses (in some cases glaring weaknesses) that may rarely come up but are debilitating when they do.

A Bladesinger for example can outank a fighter, and in many cases a Barbarian as long as there is a chokepoint they can cover. But pack tactics and invisibility are really debilitating on a bladesinger and if they somehow get incapacitated in melee they are likely going to die. A Bladesinger also typically has worse weapons (due to limited proficiencies) and has difficulty tanking and controlling open terrain due to the reliance on reaction spells and inability to both use reactions for AOOs and to do good damage when they do. Add in long days when they run out of bladesong and spells where they are not good at this at all. So while a Bladesinger is unmatched tanking in some (most?) cases, a fighter or Barbarian will tank effectively in a broader swath of cases. That is the reliability you are talking about isn't it?
 
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M_Natas

Hero
Paladin could easily become a subclass of Cleric. Rangers - well, it depends on whether one wants to replicate the 1e Ranger who could tank, or the 2e Drizz't Ranger who couldn't tank. (let's just ignore the 3e Ranger who couldn't do much of anything)

Me, I'm all for the 1e Ranger and have no issues with it being part of the Fighter group (and losing most of its spell capability in the process).
But what is the role of the Ranger in the game?
A Ranger is supposed to be a Wilderness Expert. He is supposed to fill the exploration pillar of the game as an expert as strongly as the Bard fills the social pillar of the game.

Additionally he can fight okay.
So Purpose 1: Exploration, Purpose 2: Battle.
Of course 5Es exploration pillar is exceptionally weak so a dedicated class for that feels weak.

Who really tracks food and water at the table and uses encumberance rules? Who navigates the Wilderness and gets lost, which has meaningful consequences?

The rogue is better at the exploration pillar, because of expertise and because he is the best t disarming traps. One of the few parts of the exploration pillar that still exist.

So we would first need to fix the game in order to even need a dedicated exploration class like the Ranger...

Because at the moment 5e is 60% battle, 20% traps and Hazards that will have effects on battles (using up spell slots, other limited ressources and HP) and 20% is the rest.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But what is the role of the Ranger in the game?
A Ranger is supposed to be a Wilderness Expert. He is supposed to fill the exploration pillar of the game as an expert as strongly as the Bard fills the social pillar of the game.

Additionally he can fight okay.
So Purpose 1: Exploration, Purpose 2: Battle.
Of course 5Es exploration pillar is exceptionally weak so a dedicated class for that feels weak.

Who really tracks food and water at the table and uses encumberance rules? Who navigates the Wilderness and gets lost, which has meaningful consequences?

The rogue is better at the exploration pillar, because of expertise and because he is the best t disarming traps. One of the few parts of the exploration pillar that still exist.

So we would first need to fix the game in order to even need a dedicated exploration class like the Ranger...
Seeing as the point of this thread is to spitball ideas for fixing one aspect of the game anyway, there's no reason not to expand the horizons a bit and try fixing some other bits of it... :)
Because at the moment 5e is 60% battle, 20% traps and Hazards that will have effects on battles (using up spell slots, other limited ressources and HP) and 20% is the rest.
The fault for that largely lies, I think, at the feet of a) the designers of the "official" adventures for too often making them all combat all the time and b) the designers of the game itself, for making it so easy to downplay or bypass exploration details and-or hazards.

IMO this is a follow-on to the "get to the action" philosophy of 4e, a philosophy that makes for a fast-paced game at cost of reducing a lot of the exploration side down to skill challenges (or so it seems, in the 4e adventures I've converted and run). This leads into another issue: exploration-based games are likely to have a slower pace of play in general, which is fine with me but some don't like it.
 




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