log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Which version of the Ranger?

The Artificer class has a much better companion mechanic than the PHB.
Yes,

that's why my beast master rework is based on it.

Actually, I'm considering making all "minions" work like the steel defender (acts on your initiative taking its turn immediately after yours, requires your bonus action to make it use its action), be they familiar, animal companion, steed (assuming you are not mounted), summon creature, sidekicks and player-controlled NPCs, etc. Intelligent monster/creatures could act without the master's bonus action once the command is given however.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

NotAYakk

Legend
Nope. The problem is people expect ribbon features to power features.
Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer are supposed to be situational but powerful or general and weak. The class power was put into Spellcasting and Subclass. The only outright weak class feature is Primeval Awareness. The class is far from perfect but it isn't as bad as the complaints state.

People come at the class in the wrong angle by comparing it to rangers of other media or editions. And this feeds disappointment because they are looking for something that isn't going to be there.
You aren't supposed to get 2 ribbon features at level 1.

Even getting two "situational but powerful" features at level 1 is horrible design.

That ignores the "back 10" problem of every martial class (which is why martial class MC is so tempting). The difference is the "front 11" of fighter/barbarian/paladin/rogue/monk at least has some meat.

It is possible that in some specific styles of campaign with DMs who run things in a specific way that the Ranger's exploration features are great; but, even then, they swap between "ok, we get to skip the exploration part of the game" and "these features, they do nothing, the ground is too wet/dry/warm/cold".

As for half caster -- the artificer and the paladin are examples of the class features you hang on a half-caster that aren't the ranger.

The artificer is a half caster with solid subclass support (except the alchemist, which needs reworking).
 

Nope. The problem is people expect ribbon features to power features.
Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer are supposed to be situational but powerful or general and weak.
The problem is that Rangers are the only class where ribbon features are all they get at several levels.

The class power was put into Spellcasting and Subclass.
Those are the only reasons the Ranger is even at all functional, yes. But the weakness of all its other features holds it back, not only making it the weakest class arguably, but also certainly the most unsatisfying independent of how strong or not it is.

Compare to the other half-caster class, the Paladin, who has superior spellcasting and subclasses on top of class features that are actually useful, and you see where the Ranger really falls short in its design.
 

The problem is that Rangers are the only class where ribbon features are all they get at several levels.
I'd rather say that since the exploration pillar has never been fully developed nor supported, the otherwise good ranger abilities* have downgraded to the status of ribbon features.

*They are too specific to be universally useful however, even in a exploration-heavy game.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
You aren't supposed to get 2 ribbon features at level 1.

Even getting two "situational but powerful" features at level 1 is horrible design.

Why?
Why is this bad design? The Ranger would be a fully competent warrior and expert at level 1 even if it got nothing at level 1.
It gets 2 ribbon exploration features because exploration is poorly developed in 5e.

The problem is that Rangers are the only class where ribbon features are all they get at several levels.

Spells
The D&D designers opted to shift Ranger power to spells because they didn't want to design a whole nother subsystem.
Also D&D is so underdevoleped in the Exploration pillar that there are few ways to give powerful exploration class features.
Those are the only reasons the Ranger is even at all functional, yes. But the weakness of all its other features holds it back, not only making it the weakest class arguably, but also certainly the most unsatisfying independent of how strong or not it is.
Again.
The D&D designers opted to shift Ranger power to spells because they didn't want to design a whole nother subsystem.
So the valid complaint would be that the designers didn't make a subsystem for the ranger exclusively.

Compare to the other half-caster class, the Paladin, who has superior spellcasting and subclasses on top of class features that are actually useful, and you see where the Ranger really falls short in its design.

The ranger spell list and subclasses complement and support the ranger's archetype more that any other class. One can disagree with the design choice but it isn't bad design altogether.
 

Why?
Why is this bad design? The Ranger would be a fully competent warrior and expert at level 1 even if it got nothing at level 1.
It wouldn't and it isn't. Rangers are notoriously weak and useless at Lv. 1, before they get their spells and Fighting Style.

Spells
The D&D designers opted to shift Ranger power to spells because they didn't want to design a whole nother subsystem.
Also D&D is so underdevoleped in the Exploration pillar that there are few ways to give powerful exploration class features.

Again.
The D&D designers opted to shift Ranger power to spells because they didn't want to design a whole nother subsystem.
So the valid complaint would be that the designers didn't make a subsystem for the ranger exclusively.
Who said anything about another subsystem? The Paladin and Artificer don't have entirely new subsystems. They just have actual class features at all levels. That's why those half-caster classes do fine and the Ranger doesn't.

The ranger spell list and subclasses complement and support the ranger's archetype more that any other class.
This is laughably wrong.

Even worse, Rangers aren't prepared casters like they were during the entire playtest, so they don't even get to use most of that spell list.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
It wouldn't and it isn't. Rangers are notoriously weak and useless at Lv. 1, before they get their spells and Fighting Style.
Weak compared to what? It's a fully competent warrior and one of 3 classes that has proficiency in 3 or more skills.
A level 1 ranger is as strong as a level 1 paladin or barbarian or artificer.

Who said anything about another subsystem? The Paladin and Artificer don't have entirely new subsystems. They just have actual class features at all levels. That's why those half-caster classes do fine and the Ranger doesn't.
Those other half casters aren't based on using an underdeveloped Exploration pillar.
Outside of Stealth and picking locks, the Exploration pillar is a mangle of seperate rules and corner cases that require a whole subsystem to use.

The Paladin can fill almost its Social role "Um, Can I roll Charisma?"

This is laughably wrong.
The ranger's spells complement the Exploration pillar extremely well. The only thing missing are desert (hot and cold) spells.
The issue is rangers know so few spells and can't swap them by default.

But if you aren't casting those spells, why are you playing ranger?
 

Weak compared to what? It's a fully competent warrior and one of 3 classes that has proficiency in 3 or more skills.
But unlike the other two classes that do, does not get Expertise.

A level 1 ranger is as strong as a level 1 paladin or barbarian or artificer.
A Lv. 1 Paladin still has Lay on Hands, a Lv. 1 Barbarian still has 2 Rages/day, and a Lv. 1 Artificer actually gets its Spellcasting at the start, cantrips included, despite being a half-caster otherwise.

On what planet does a Lv. 1 Ranger measure up to any of the above?

Those other half casters aren't based on using an underdeveloped Exploration pillar.
Outside of Stealth and picking locks, the Exploration pillar is a mangle of seperate rules and corner cases that require a whole subsystem to use.

The Paladin can fill almost its Social role "Um, Can I roll Charisma?"
Problem is the Ranger isn't even good at navigating what is there of the exploration pillar. It gets one favored terrain for the first 5 levels, whose benefits basically just allow it to hand-wave exploration ... which most DMs do anyway, so that's useless. If a DM does take exploration into account and the party happens to be in a terrain the Ranger didn't pick, the Ranger is SOL.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Weak compared to what? It's a fully competent warrior and one of 3 classes that has proficiency in 3 or more skills.
A level 1 ranger is as strong as a level 1 paladin or barbarian or artificer.
Artificer: 2 spells/day
Paladin: Divine Sense, lay on hands
Barbarian: Rage

Those are all meaty, strong abilities.

Ranger: One additional skill, Ribbons.
 

ehren37

Explorer
Nope. The problem is people expect ribbon features to power features.
Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer are supposed to be situational but powerful or general and weak. The class power was put into Spellcasting and Subclass. The only outright weak class feature is Primeval Awareness. The class is far from perfect but it isn't as bad as the complaints state.

People come at the class in the wrong angle by comparing it to rangers of other media or editions. And this feeds disappointment because they are looking for something that isn't going to be there.
The ranger is more or less all ribbons though, and bad ones at that. Whatever minor crap they get is easily eclipsed by having a real caster. If you replaced the party's ranger with a druid, you'd be better off at exploration and combat. Getting a second shot with a bow at the cost of full caster progression is a terrible trade. Go read Find the Path and tell me what a ranger can do that is worth trading that spell.

The ranger is also pretty pathetic compared to the paladin, the other "hybrid" class. The spellcasting is terrible, considering it is a "spells known" class. The paladin almost gets more bonus spells always prepared than the ranger gets to even know, AND knows everything on their list. To compound matters, ranger specific spells are more or less trash, particularly at the level you get them. The paladin gets the grotesquely broken aura, which breaks the concept of bounded accuracy, and the ranger has nothing which even comes close. You could give them BOTH subclass features in the PHB and maybe they'd be OK.
 

collin

Explorer
I play a homebrewed Ranger in 1 campaign, and I made 1 very simple change: make hunter's mark a class ability rather than a spell, and start it at 1st level. That does 2 things:
1. Makes the Ranger more of a combative threat to put him/her more on par with the Rogue or Fighter at low levels.
2. Frees up a 1st level spell slot at 2nd level to be used for something else useful.
(See attachment)

I do not get wrapped up in animal companions or other rules. I just let play them as is, although substituting the Artificer's Battlesmith rules sounds intriguing.
 

Attachments

  • Hunter's Mark.pdf
    107.6 KB · Views: 22

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Artificer: 2 spells/day
Paladin: Divine Sense, lay on hands
Barbarian: Rage

Those are all meaty, strong abilities.
A Lv. 1 Paladin still has Lay on Hands, a Lv. 1 Barbarian still has 2 Rages/day, and a Lv. 1 Artificer actually gets its Spellcasting at the start, cantrips included, despite being a half-caster otherwise.


Not at level 1.
I'd gladly trade a skill proficiency and a bonus language for 5HPs of LOH or 2 rages


But unlike the other two classes that do, does not get Expertise.

Which is the whole problem.
Giving the Ranger Expertise really doesn't mean much because outside of stealth/detection and picking locks, the exploration pillar doesn't work on skill checks alone.

Problem is the Ranger isn't even good at navigating what is there of the exploration pillar. It gets one favored terrain for the first 5 levels, whose benefits basically just allow it to hand-wave exploration ... which most DMs do anyway, so that's useless. If a DM does take exploration into account and the party happens to be in a terrain the Ranger didn't pick, the Ranger is SOL.

Spells. Spells.
Once you get deep into the exploration pillar it is all spells and "natural abilities". That's why the designers didn't go deep into Favored enemy and why Natural Explorer looks like how it does. The Exploration pillaris underdeveloped and is most ON or OFF.

The problem is the game, not the ranger. The ranger suffers because Exploration pillar in 5e is bad.
 


The base ranger class isn't as bad as people make it out to be, but it is on the bottom of the class tier. I included a few simple homebrew items to bring it up, and it's worked out quite well. I also make sure to talk with the players at session 0 to make sure they pick a Favored Enemy and Favored Terrain appropriate to the setting/starting location (which unsurprisingly handles a huge number of problems).

  • Increased number of Favored Enemy and Favored Terrain
    • I added more of these, especially on levels that just have ribbon features
    • combined oozes, plants, and beasts into "nature" category, because individually they're really weak
  • You add your Proficiency Modifier to damage dealt to a Favored Enemy
    • If using MC, you basically use your levels of Ranger for determining the bonus

The beastmaster is questionable. I've changed the rules for non-mount animals of all types, allowing them to continue taking the directed action until told otherwise. Despite this, there's still no interest by my players to play one.
 

Not at level 1.
I'd gladly trade a skill proficiency and a bonus language for 5HPs of LOH or 2 rages
I certainly wouldn't, but whatever floats your boat I guess ...

Giving the Ranger Expertise really doesn't mean much because outside of stealth/detection and picking locks
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Stealth is a pretty big part of exploration. So are Perception and Investigation. Survival helps when tracking, which is kind of what a Ranger is supposed to do. Expertise would definitely make a difference there.

Spells. Spells.
Which the Ranger may not even have for exploration, considering it is a spells-learned caster (instead of the prepared caster that it was literally the entire playtest), with the lowest spells-known number in the game. It's so low that the Ranger either has to devote spell learnings to combat entirely or exploration entirely and suck at the other.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
That's almost certainly true, but it's a lot easier to patch a class than to fix the game.

Which is why the best homebrew from the ranger is to either make it a pepared class like the paladin or increase the spells known.
The only why to do exploration strength outside of Stealth/Perception opposed rolls and Thieves Tools is to brute force it with spells or rewrite 30+ pages of the DMG.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Stealth is a pretty big part of exploration. So are Perception and Investigation. Survival helps when tracking, which is kind of what a Ranger is supposed to do. Expertise would definitely make a difference there.

Rangers are great at Stealth and Detection. Dex/Wis rangers have some of the best combined Stealth and Perception bonuses..

The problem is Survival doesn't help in tracking that much passed level 3-4 without magic back up.
And defeating natural hazards and supernatural wilderness requires magic as well.

Which the Ranger may not even have for exploration, considering it is a spells-learned caster (instead of the prepared caster that it was literally the entire playtest), with the lowest spells-known number in the game. It's so low that the Ranger either has to devote spell learnings to combat entirely or exploration entirely and suck at the other.

Rangers have the spells. The issue is that you get them too few at a time. The only combat spell they need is Hunter's Mark. You can easier ave every other spell an exploration spell.

Which is why the most common homebrew is to give ranger 2-3 bonus spells known.
Which is why all the new ranger subclasses give you bonus spells.

That's all you need to make the class to go from the bottom to near the top.
 

ehren37

Explorer
The ranger's spells complement the Exploration pillar extremely well. The only thing missing are desert (hot and cold) spells.
The issue is rangers know so few spells and can't swap them by default.

But if you aren't casting those spells, why are you playing ranger?

This leads to the obvious question - why aren't you just playing a druid and casting level appropriate spells?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
This leads to the obvious question - why aren't you just playing a druid and casting level appropriate spells?

Because you don't have to?
D&D exploration is so bad a half caster can do it.

It's all low level except for Stealth, Detection, and Lock Picking. The only thing that really progresses is Tracking and all it does is open up options to be lazier.
 

Rangers are great at Stealth and Detection. Dex/Wis rangers have some of the best combined Stealth and Perception bonuses..
Without Expertise a Rogue will always be better at those.

The problem is Survival doesn't help in tracking that much passed level 3-4 without magic back up.
And defeating natural hazards and supernatural wilderness requires magic as well.
It makes it easier, but it doesn't really require it.

Which is why the most common homebrew is to give ranger 2-3 bonus spells known.
Which is why all the new ranger subclasses give you bonus spells.

That's all you need to make the class to go from the bottom to near the top.
And the fact that you have to introduce homebrew or include all the newer subclasses to make the Ranger anything approaching a capable unit doesn't scream to you that the PHB Ranger is deeply flawed?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Not at level 1.
I'd gladly trade a skill proficiency and a bonus language for 5HPs of LOH or 2 rages
Oh, and heavy armor for the Paladin.

A rage doubles your durability and healing done to you. Suppose 12 con; then a Barbarian has 13 HP, possibly times two, and possibly doubling healing. The Ranger has 11 HP, 42% of the Barbarian's durability before healing. If you include HD healing, that is 41 HP vs 17.5, same ratio.

The adventuring day/XP required before level 2 is tiny, so you are going to be raging in the vast majority of challenging fights before level 2.

When raging, the barbarian has top-notch (level 1) damage output. Ranger's have baseline martial.

Barbarians also get the unarmored defence ribbon feature, which is about as useful as both of the Ranger's ribbons combined (ie, not very, and if so, very situational).

---

For the Paladin, you get divine sense, which is a better situational ability than both of the Ranger's abilities combined.

Plus LOH, which brings the 12 con Paladin from 17.5 HP/day to 22.5 HP/day, or can be used to save a downed ally in smaller pieces.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top