Note: Throughout this post I am going to refer to the Ranger's summoned companion as "pet", as I feel it is easier to understand and helps support a point I am trying to make.Hunter’s Mark
When this ability becomes available, it gets placed on the action bar in a random location. There have been a few times where I didn’t notice it was available, so I wasted a spell slot casting a new one. Solution:
Make one button to apply or reapply Hunter’s Mark. When reapply is available (Hunt Complete
), the button should change to reflect that. While Hunt Complete
is active, the button would default to Reapply Hunter’s Mark
using your bonus action; if your hunt is not complete, it would allow you to apply a new Hunter’s Mark
using a spell slot. There is differentiation between the two in the icons, but it might not be noticeable enough to communicate this at a glance. Maybe invert the colors for the reapply version, or have a colored outline when it will use a spell slot. At the very least, just have the reapply button always on your bar, but grayed out if you don’t have Hunt Complete
Multiple times I have accidentally moved the pet's ability buttons off the bar mid-combat. I think the bar needs to be locked by default. Luckily you can put them back on from the spellbook.Ability Rework:
You select what beast you want to bring out, but it is then locked (in the same way a spellcaster's spells are locked), meaning you can only change it once per day while at the camp.
In addition to Hide
, and Jump
, give the pet the following commands: Stay
, and Dismiss
. I'll explain what each one does.
- Stay - Sometimes I want to scout around by myself and I don’t want my pet to follow me. Since you can’t “unchain” your pet like you can your other companions, there needs to be a “stay” command on the pet to allow this. You can get around it currently by putting the pet into stealth (or out of stealth if your character is in stealth), but having an official “stay” command ties into the beastmaster/pet fantasy.
- Follow - If we have a stay command, we will need a follow command as well. This can be a one-button ability that switches between the two depending on what state your pet is currently in: if it is set to stay, the button becomes follow, and vice versa.
Another solution would be to make the pet portrait have the same look and behavior as your other companions: allow it to chain and unchain.
I think keeping the pet portrait tied to the pet owner would be less confusing as you are clearly able to see who it belongs to, so having a stay/follow command might be the better solution.
- Dismiss - Having a dismiss command would be another solution for keeping the pet from disrupting your scouting operations.
- Call - Summon Companion should be retitled Call Companion. This feels more in-line with the fantasy of the subclass, as a Ranger shouldn’t be “summoning” or “conjuring” these beasts. This is meant to be a beast companion the ranger has selected from the wild, spent time with, and formed a bond with, not something conjured up as if by magic. The fantasy is wrong.
Let's look at the offical description of the Beast Master from the PHB: "The Beast Master archetype embodies a friendship between the civilized races and the beasts of the world. United in focus, beast and ranger work as one to fight the monstrous foes that threaten civilization and the wilderness alike. Emulating the Beast Master archetype means committing yourself to this ideal, working in partnership with an animal as its companion and friend."
I’m not picking a Beast Master Ranger so I can conjure up an animal friend by magic (I can play a Wizard for that), I am picking them because I want an animal companion that I befriended from the wild. It's hard to pull this off in a video game, but I think this would better support the fantasy.
Considering how other spell options work in the game, I think you should be allowed to swap out your companion, but it should be restricted to once per long rest, instead of only out of combat. Think about how a Wizard can change his prepared spells once per day, it should be the same type of decision. Also think about how you would swap out your other companions in order to best round out your group.
You should be able to "call/summon" your pet inside of combat (NPC are able to), at least once, and be unable to do so again until after a long rest.
- Revive - If your pet goes down inside of combat, it should remain on the battlefield where it can make death saving throws, or be revived via the Help action from your party members. This could be made to require an animal handling, or nature check to succeed, or limited to only the owner; otherwise just give the Beast Master a revive pet ability.
If the pet dies, you would need to return to camp and make your selection again (or a new one), before you are able to call it again. This would follow the the official description of the Ranger's Companion feature in the PHB, where it says: "If the beast dies, you can obtain another one by spending 8 hours magically bonding with another beast that isn’t hostile to you, either the same type of beast as before or a different one."
I am pretty sure these aren't fully worked out yet, as their HP & AC values don't feel right, same with their abilities.
- Boar - HP 11 | AC 11 | Speed 12m
Tusk Attack - Gore the target to deal 1d6+1 Slashing damage.
Charge Attack - Charge forward attacking all hostile creatures in the way. Deals 1d6+1 Slashing, and potentially knocks characters prone.
More HP (at least 20. More AC (at least 12).
Charge seems to work by centering the targeting circle on a single target. It should then show the path the boar will take, and whether or not any enemies along that path will be potentially hit by the charge. Maybe have graphics that show the width of the path, or a red outline around each enemy that will be hit.
- Wolf - HP 11 | AC 13 | Speed 12m
Bite - Lunge at a target to bite it. Deals 2d4+0 Piercing and possibly knocks the target Prone.
More HP (at least 20) and a second ability.
Also, the wolf model looks a bit chunky to me (could just be me though), and might need a slight size reduction (it's big enough to mount).
For the abilities, I think we can just pull them from the Monster Manual:
Keen Hearing and Smell - The wolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
Pack Tactics - The wolf has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the wolf's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
These would make the Wolf good at sniffing out hidden enemies and work well with your party.
- Bear - HP 19 | AC 11 | Speed 12m
Bear Claws - Lash out with deadly claws to deal 1d8+0 Slashing.
Goading Roar - Roar at nearby enemies to goad them into attacking you.
More HP (at least 30). More AC (at least 15). The only thing that felt weird about the bear was when it uses Jump (not sure a bear can pull that off). I think either the distance should be made really small, or the ability should be replaced with Shove (that feels like a bear move).
- Spider - HP 32 | AC 14 | Speed 12m
Arachnid Jump - 20m range.
Poisonous Bite - Bite a target to deal 1d8+3 Poison and possibly Poison it.
Web - Cover a target in thick, flammable webbing that can Enweb creatures within. (18m range).
I hate to say it, but lower the HP a bit (at least to 20). Lower the AC too (at least to 12). Everything else feels right. I think the model could also use a slight size reduction (just takes up too much space).
- Raven - HP 1 | AC 12 | Speed 12m
Fly - Fly to the target position (18m range).
Beak Attack - Peck at a target, dealing 1d6+1 Piercing damage on hit.
Rend Vision - Attack a creature's eyes. The target takes 1d4+1 Piercing and is Blinded.
Definately more HP (around 15). AC feels ok. I would personally rather this be a hawk than a raven, but I have a solution for that later. The raven should be a good scouting pet, so giving it Keen Senses would be good, and flying shouldn't provoke opportunity attacks (might already have this, but it isn't stated).
Fly - Fly to the target position. The raven doesn't provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy's reach.
Keen Sight - The raven has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
I feel like there is one beast option that is missing: Panther.Suggested Companion:
The Panther just needs to be stealthy. Giving it pounce does feel like a cat-like move, but it takes away from the wolf. Either they both have it, or the Panther should be made to be focused on stealth. I am leaning towards stealth, so I would give it sneak attack bonuses like a Rogue has.
- Panther - HP 25 | AC 13 | Speed 12m
Sneak Attack - Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
Bite - (1d6+2) piercing damage. (Usable ONLY if target is Prone, and made with advantage)
Claw - (1d4+2) slashing damage. (Chance to cause Bleed)
Advantage on Steath checks.
For my final suggestion, I would like to have the option to change the appearance of the pet. So if you pick, for example, the wolf, you could pick a black wolf, a white wolf, a gray wolf, or maybe even some dog appearances. For the raven, I would like to see an option for hawk, eagle, owl, and maybe vulture. For the bear; a black bear, brown bear, and polar bear. For the spider; a black widow spider, a green spider, and a brown spider. Etc, etc...
I saw this in the comments and thought it was a good idea:
Maybe give us default options (for example drow spiders are black widows by default).
I know it's a lot to go over, but these are some things I would really like to see in the game. Thanks for reading, and thanks for making such a great game!