Hello everyone. Now those of you who like the Beast Master as is written in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Players Handbook can just just consider the options listed below. If you feel, as Nerdarchy does, that the Ranger Beast Master does not hold up in comparison.
So as we see it here are the issues.
Shared Actions. While mechanically this is to make sure that the Ranger with an animal companion is not performing better than the fighter, which is supposed to be the optimal fighter type. Or doing more damage than the Barbarian which is supposed to be the high damage dealing warrior type.
Spell casters have the ability either by magical summoning or by magical control they do not have to give up their action in order for the other to perform their control. We also cannot over look things like familiars which have the ability to act on their own as well.
Easily Killed. The low hit points of the rangers companion even with the 4 times the level of the ranger they can easily be killed in one attack or one round by adversaries of your level. An orc challenge 1/2does damage as 1d12+3 and 2d12+3 on a crit. That is 27 potential damage in a single attack. That means an animal companion for a ranger of 6th level or lower just died. The design of 5th edition allows for even these low level monsters to be useful for a long time so these type of situations have more chance of coming up. It takes an 8 hour ritual to summon a new companion. If a ranger is constantly summoning a new companion it can get very droll for them as players.
Hunters Mark. Based on all the rangers we have seen play and the conversations we have seen the spell Hunters mark for rangers is the equivalent of cure wounds for clerics. It is just always prepared and used on almost every combat.
So how do we fix this? Dave came up with the idea of a way to fix each of these situations. We have it as a bonus action to command to attack. The companion can keep attacking without further command. If the opponent drops it can automatically target the nearest foe or the Ranger can use its bonus action to specify what to attack next.
The hit points become a challenge and Dave has an interesting idea. What if the Rangers ritual to summon the animal creates a magical bond between the two. They then have a shared health pool. It is a little strange but it does get around some of the issues. The ranger with an animal companion gains an extra HP per level denoted by the bond and when either takes damage it come from this one pool. It also makes record keeping easier on the character sheet.
There are two issues that we have worked out when you have a shared pool. The first is that if one takes the attack and it brings the health pool to 0 what causes them both to collapse. Well if the pool is created by a magical bond the shock of one dropping causes the other to collapse as well. Simple enough in my opinion. I think it also makes for a stronger bond between the two.
The second issue is what do you do in area of effect spells? Traditionally a spell should only be able to damage a target once a round. The fireball is not bouncing all over the place. So the fix is a little clunky. Since there are essentially two of you you both have to roll for the saving throw and you either both pass or you are to have considered failed. The damage in either case is deducted from the pool and proceed as normal.
Lastly we look at Hunters Mark. Since this seems a staple of the ranger class, whether it was intended as such or not, we just allow the animal to be able to get the extra damage from the spell.
So what do you think of Nerdarchy’s revision to the Ranger Beast Master for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition? Does it solve the problem or does it just create other issues?
Thanks for reading. Until Next Time, Stay Nerdy!
The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.