View Full Version : Ranger Beastmaster Houserule opinion

03-10-2010, 01:11 PM
I ran a quick little delve for a couple of buddies last weekand one was playing a Beastmaster Ranger. The mechanics were really off - didn't seem to feel like a pet class at all. (in fact, in many ways the pet felt almost superfluous) I'm thinking of modifying the rules a bit, and wanted to get yer opinion.

So having a pet almost gives the player an extra attack, which can be a bit unbalanced with the other classes since its almost like having two standard actions per round. I assume this is why they made all the pet attacks part of the ranger's actions/exploits. However, it really feels like a gimmick and in many ways can be gimping the rangers damage output since the pet damage can be somewhat lackluster on its own.

Here is what I think I'll propose for future ranger beastmasters:
The pet's damage is actually somewhat comparable to the Hunter's Quarry damage. Certain abilities key off the Quarry designation, so it must stay. What I'll do is let the player give up HQ damage (permanently) and allow his pet to make a standard action each round. Total damage output should be about the same - the beast's attack being the tradeoff for the HQ damage. The one exception would be "paired" powers - where the ranger and the beast act in concert - these would take the standard action of both ranger and beast. (for example, "Fetch" uses the beast to pull a target to the ranger and so the beast would give up its extra action that round) This means the player could select exploits that work for his ranger, and his beast (in essence) becomes his Hunter's Quarry damage.

I don't think its totally unbalanced, but there may be circumstances that I'm not thinking of that would make it an unfair advantage. Chance-wise it is about the same (the player may hit and the beast may miss, or vice versa) so its actually a slight disadvantage since the player would need to roll two hits just to apply his hunter's damage. The tradeoff would be that the player could send his beast after one target (say a minion) and then attack a different target with the ranger, but that's not much different than the "twin strike" ranger power as it is.

I'm also considering removing the requirement that the player spend his ranger's Immediate Interrupt on his turn to allow his pet to make an Opportunity Attack. This would bring it in line with all other summons/pets in the game (they can make OAs without using the summoner's Immediate Action, barring unique circumstances).

I think these changes will make the pet feel more like an active participant as opposed to just a gimmick.


Cheers ~
icky ricardo

03-10-2010, 05:14 PM
Before you go an change rules around you should make sure you are doing them correctly.

1) The beast acts through the Rangers actions. They don't get two standards. The Ranger uses the attack powers with best keyword to have the creature attack. That is the rangers standard action. If he wishes to move the creature, he uses his move action. He will even use his immediate interrupts to have the beast opportunity attack.

The damage output of predator strike, + the beast strength and the rangers wisdom can be quite high for an at will. So if you had a wolf it would 1d8+2+rangers will mod AND a +2(Wolfs wis mod) should it have combat advantage against a target. Wisdom is very important for a Beast master ranger.

2) The beast or the ranger may use hunters quarry but the damage is applied only once per round.

3) the beast is treated as an ally so a warlords Commander strike can be used with it.

If you feel that the beast is just not as powerful than, say twin strike, that is because twin strike is so good. Certainly better than careful strike. The beast is also using the same rules as for mounts, which require the player to use his own actions to have the creature move or attack. But the beast is nothing like animal companions in 3.5 which could easily be exploited.

If you start giving the beast independent actions, you just created a new member of the party who should alter the level of encounters.

03-10-2010, 11:02 PM
I am doing them correctly - what we are doing is trying to find a way to break the "one action split between two party members" and do it in a way that isn't totally game breaking. If the ranger has their own action, and the beast has a single melee basic attack (or other standard action such as total defense or skill check/second wind/etc) then the beast feels more like a member of the party and not just a game mechanic.

So in essence, the beast's melee basic becomes the hunter's quarry damage. Its not a perfect solution, but it certainly plays a lot better on the table (flavor wise) than having to choose either ranger or beast action (with the other standing around doing nothing).
--- Merged from Double Post ---
I guess, re-reading my original post, my problem wasn't entirely clear. I wasn't worried that a beastmaster (when played by the rules) wouldn't equal the damage output of say an archer hunter - this was all about how it feel on the game board in terms of style/flavor. (and how to fix that without killing game balance)

03-14-2010, 03:02 AM
The quarry damage seems a little abstract, especially if the beast is engaged in with another creature for whatever reason.

Perhaps you can create a at-will power that allows the ranger and the beast to attack with no modifier to damage, same as with twin strike. That would give it something more attune to fighting together.

It just seems there is not enough official options for the beast master Ranger, not until their is dragon article or Martial power 3.

03-14-2010, 12:58 PM
Aye - that's why I was thinking dropping "quarry damage" altogether - this way it will allow the beast to make melee basic attacks without significantly changing the total damage output of the ranger.