View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Weirling Sublcass-Replacement for Beastmaster Subclass

2015-02-11, 04:14 AM
I like a lot in the 5e, but I've got to say that the Beastmaster Subclass feels awkward and a bit lacking in flavor.

The subclass description says you are supposed to be the embodiment of friendship between beast and man and a bulwark against the forces that threaten wilderness and civilization. Instead your companion is essentially an awkward weapon.

I'm just not feeling the love in the sub-class features, it often feels as if you might be better off just trying to charm animals to do what you ask of them. I'm looking to create more of a Life-Long Friends/Raised by Animals/Game of Thrones "Warg" type character than the beastmaster. This gave birth in my head to the Weirling Subclass-

Rangerís Companion
: At 3rd level, you gain a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and is trained to fight alongside you. Choose a beast that is no larger than Medium and that has a challenge rating of 1/4 or lower (appendix D presents statistics for the hawk, mastiff,and panther as examples). You may increase your companion to CR 1/2 and Large at level 7 and CR 1 at level 11. Add your proficiency bonus to the beastís AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills it is proficient in. Its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or (4+ Companionís CON Modifier) times your ranger level, whichever is higher. Whenever you gain an ability score improvement you may instead increase one of your companionís scores by 2, or two companion scores by 1, or one companion score by 1 and one of your scores by 1.

The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, though it doesnít take an action unless you command it to. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action. Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack action.

While traveling through your favored terrain with only the beast, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
If the beast dies, you can obtain another one by spending 8 hours magically bonding with another beast that isnít hostile to you, either the same type of beast as before or a different one. Any distributed ability score improvements may be redistributed to the new companion.

Bond Manifestations-

Your devotion to your ranger companion is a sworn pact, transcending normal friendship. Your bond manifests as a supernatural understanding of each other. At 3rd level you gain two different Bond Manifestation. You Gain additional Manifestations at levels 7,11, and 15. If a bond manifestation has prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn the Manifestation at the same time that you meet its prerequisites.

Ferocious Friendship
You may have your companion use an Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action using a bonus action. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom Modifier. You regain all expended uses when you finish a short rest

My Motherís Language
You can cast Speak with Animals at will and without expending a spell slot, but only to communicate with beasts similar to your companion. Additionally, your companion understands all languages that you do.

My Fatherís Skill
Gain One Monster Feature that your Companion has. (This manifestation can be taken multiple times to gain additional Monster Features. This manifestation cannot be taken twice at 3rd level.)

My Brotherís Keeper
Both you and your companion learn the ďSpare the DyingĒ Cantrip

My Sisterís Watch (Level 7)
While you and your animal companion are within 10 ft. of each other you each gain +2 to AC and initiative rolls

Exceptional Training (Level 7)

On any of your turns when your beast companion doesnít attack, you can use a bonus action to command the beast to take the Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action on its turn. This doesnít count against your number of uses of Ferocious Friendship

My Auntieís Blessing (Level 7)
Your Ranger Companion's natural weapons are magical.

Share Spells (Level 7)
When you cast a spell targeting yourself, you can also affect your beast companion with the spell if the beast is within 30 ft. Of you.

Take one for the Team (Level 7)
When you are attacked and your animal companion is within 5 ft. you may use your companionís reaction to force the attack to target your companion. If your companion is attacked and you are within 5 ft. you may use your reaction to force the attack to target you.

Bestial Fury (Level 11)
Once on each of your turns when your companion hits a creature with an attack you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 of damage of the same type dealt by to the target. At Level 14 the die increases to 1d10, and at level 18 the die increases again to 1d12

My Uncleís Wisdom (Level 11)
You may exchange a DC imposed by any of your companionís attacks with your Spell Save DC

Our Minds as One (Level 11)
You gain the ability to caste Beast Sense at will on your Ranger Companion without expending a spell slot

Goading Assault(Level 11)
During your turn you may declare that all of your attacks and your companionís attacks will have a single target. If you do so the target must make a Wisdom Saving Throw against your Ranger Spell DC. On a failed save, the target has disadvantage on all attack rolls against targets other than you or your animal companion (your choice) until the end of your next turn. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom Modifier. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Bonds of Family(Level 15)
If you or your ranger companion would drop to 0 hit points while the other is still conscious and within sight or hearing you may make a DC 10 Wisdom Saving throw. If you succeed you/your companion drops to 1 point instead. The DC for this effect increases by 5 every time it is used until you take a long rest, after which it resets to DC 10.

Shared Knowledge (Level 15)
Your ranger companion gains proficiency in any saving throws and skills you have proficiency in that it doesn't already have.

Presence of the Beast (Level 15)
You may use an action to force creatures of your choice within 60 ft. of your ranger companion to take a Wisdom Saving throw against your spell casting DC. If a creature fails they become frightened for the number of minutes equal to your Wisdom Modifier. An affected creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. This feature can only be used once per day.

Blue Text Changes to standard beastmaster subclass
Red Text Changes based on feedback

I took inspiration from the Warlocks Eldritch Invocations because I felt the beastmaster bond should be more similar to the Warlock Pacts/Cleric Domains.

The Hunter Archetype should be better at fighting a specific type of encounter (Horde/Large Beast/Single Big Bad Guy), but the Beast Master should be better at soaking up damage/managing the battlefield/out of combat roles.

A couple of items I would like critique on-

-Initially I was going to allow two features at 3rd level one so that some of the weaker options might see some use. Upon second glance I decided this made the feature too powerful, particularly allowing them to take multiple monster features at a low level. Pack Tactics + Rogue levels might be too good as is. Is the Monster Feature option too good?

-I was thinking about adding a manifestation(s) that would allow for increases to CR level of the companions that can be used. This might not interact well with the additional ability scores I want to allow though. Do you think these could fit? Where at?

-Shared Spells seems kind of underwhelming for a 15th level ability. The most abusable thing I can see happening with this is Multi-Classing to be able to caste haste on both yourself and your animal at once at level 12. While this is really good, it doesn't feel any worse than a wizard/sorcerer/druid/paladin casting it on a fighter/paladin at the same level. Am I missing something?

All other feedback/thoughts/ramblings is also welcome! For those of you who made it this far thanks for reading my first post on Gianttip and please forgive any of my formatting mistakes!

2015-02-11, 02:06 PM
I like it! Definitely an improvement over the standard Beastmaster. To answer some of your points:

1) Maybe allow them to take two features at level 7, of which only one can be from the level 7 list? That way it's not overly powerful at level 3, but the low-level options still see play. Also, MFS could be limited to only taking it one time.

2) I like this WAY better than the ASI division, TBH. As it currently is, you need to make your ranger weaker than anyone else in the party to be able to have a decent companion at higher levels. If your beast dies, your ranger sucks. He's much worse than a beastmaster with no pet. No other subclass penalizes you like this, and it's definitely a turn-off. I'd honestly just let the feature scale naturally without spending what is essentially the only subclass feature on it. Maybe you can have a beast with a maximum CR no greater than 1/4 your ranger level- not sure if that's too strong.

3) Share Spells seems fine as a 7th level ability. Taking 5 levels of another class to get Haste is a big hit and really delays progression, so I don't think it'll cause to many problems in practice.

2015-02-13, 02:43 AM
Thanks for the Feedback Potato Golem!

After mulling it over I think you have some good points

1.) I like this, I think I will edit to allow two different bond manifestations at level 3.

2.) I'm ok with a it being a major drawback to the ranger for the beast companion to die. I want players and parties that utilize this subclass to feel like the companion is part of the team. I do think it would probably ok to just allow the ranger to upgrade during level progression though. The question is at which levels?

1/4 Ranger level seems too good because the Moon Circle Druid is restricted to 1/3 Druid level. Because of the Bonuses the ranger provides the companion the companion starts outclassing a druid taking that wildshape pretty quickly. It's probably ok for the Ranger to eventually have access to the same forms a Land Circle Druid has access to, but at later levels. Maybe allow the ranger to take a CR 1/2 and large companion at level 7, and then allow another upgrade to CR 1 at 11?

3. I've gone through the spell list a bit more and I think potentially some of the aurass and/or the shield spells could cause problems, however the diversion would be pretty significant. If it becomes an issue I can limit the spells that can be shared to the ranger's spell list.

2015-02-13, 07:32 AM
I really like your ideas for this subclass. The abilities feel powerful and flavorful but not overwhelmingly so. I do have some suggestions that I hope you will consider:

I like the old Bestial Fury ability. Having your companion attack twice allows for additional applications of on-hit effects, and gives you a total of 3 attacks per round. Although, if Ferocious Friendship allows you to make your companion take the Attack action twice per round (once with a bonus action, once with an action), this translates to 6 attacks per round, which is a bit much. Perhaps keep this as an option that doesn't stack with Ferocious Friendship?
As a follow-up to my previous point, perhaps you could allow retraining Bond Manifestations the same way you could retrain Invocations?
Don't forget to limit the animal's ability score to 20 even after ASIs. Since these are low CR monsters, I don't think they should have an ability score that breaks 20. Perhaps you could also give them a separate ASI instead of cannibalizing the Ranger's ASI
While the animal companion's HP is flavorful, it may be a bit much, especially at lower levels. I would suggest making the scaling improve with Ranger levels, e.g. 4xRanger level HP, improving to 5xRanger level at level 7, 6xRanger level at level 11, and 7xRanger level at level 15, with a bonus 1 hp per Ranger level if the creature is Large.
Shared Knowledge is incredibly powerful, as it grants the animal companion a sudden +7 bonus (+2 from its own proficiency, +5 from yours) to several skills and saves. To tone it down a little, I would suggest giving the animal companion proficiency in one of your saves and one of your skills.

2015-02-13, 11:24 PM
Any reason you didn't include Bestial Fury as a level 11 bond?

2015-02-16, 03:26 AM
I want to focus on the Bestial Fury ability/manifestation since it is has gotten a bit of attention-

RAW Bestial Fury gives the Ranger Companion 2 attacks when you command it to take an attack action. Combined with multi-attack and ferocious friendship it gives the ranger an insane amount of attacks, potentially compounding with hunters mark being shared between ranger and companion

Level 11 Weirling-
As I have written with my bestial fury with a giant badger
-Badger 4X Mutliattack (4X Claws(4d6+4StMod+4ProfBonus)+4X Bite(8d4+4Stmod+4Prof Bonus+Bestial Fury die (1d8)) +1X ranger attack (Dueling Style Longsword (1d8+2+StMod)= total of (2d8+4d6+8BadgerStMod+8Ranger ProfBonus+2+RangerStMod) Ave 85 dpr Usable 4-5X per short rest

Assuming everything hits this is an average 85 dpr. Increase this by 31.5 (9D6) if you want to allow hunters mark to include badger attacks with share spells. DPR also increases quickly as you allow higher CR (black bear) or increase the companion's STR because a +1 bonus=+8 dpr.

Allowing bestial fury to allow 2 attacks instead of a extra Damage die doubles attacks and therefore the companion's dpr. This takes dpr for the ranger and companion to 159 per round, and with hunters mark takes it to a staggering 222 dpr

Damage focused classes at level 11-
-Greatsword Fighter Battlemaster ((3 attacks at level 11(6d6)) X 2(action surge)+ all maneuver dice (5d10))= total of (12d6+5d10+6StMod)) Ave 127 dpr Useable 1X per short rest
- Dual Wielder feature Vengeance paladin((2 attacks at level 11(2d8)+bonus attack(1d8) +3X(4D8 Divine Smite+Hunters Mark dice (3d6)).=total of (3d6+15d8+2St/DexMod) average 98.5 dpr useable 1X per long rest
-Warlock2/Sorcerer9 (Eldritch Blast(3d10+3ChaMod)X2(Quickened/Twinned)=total(6d10+6ChaMod) ave 63 Dpr 11X per long rest or (quickened Cone of Cold (8d8)X5 targets+ChaMod+ eldritch blast (3d10+3ChaMod)=total (40d8+3d10+4ChaMod) ave dpr 216.5 across 5 targets useable 1X per long rest
-Longbow Hunter Ranger w/colossus slayer targeting massed group of enemies (Initial target(Longbow(1d8+DexMod)+colossus slayer(1d8)+Lightning arrow (4d8)) + for each additional enemy in 10ft.(longbow(1d8+DexMod)+lightning arrow(2d8)))=Ave 32 dpr for 1st enemy and an additional 18.5 dpr per additional enemy in 10ft. Assuming 5-6 targets(optimistic) you get 106-124.5 ave dpr useable 3x per long rest

As you can see the altered Bestial fury is a little worse than a lot of other classes maxing out their spike damage, and the only class that even comes close to matching the RAW Bestial Fury+Ferocious Friendship is the Warlock/Sorcerer that has to spread the damage across 5 targets and can only use the ability 1X per long rest.

I also don't really want this sub-class to have super high spike damage. The Hunter subtype should be able to get to higher possible dpr, particularly when if the party uses tactics that cater to the Hunter's abilities. I want my Weirling/Beastmaster Subclass to be more durable, have better utility for out of combat activities, and have more predictable if slightly lesser dpr.

Potential Fixes

It does seem that the RAW Bestial Fury ability is one of the things that people love about the BeastMaster RAW so it probably makes sense to try to find a way to keep it intact. Here are some of my thoughts-

- Only allow multi-attack or special action from MM statblock in combination with a use of a ferocious friendship bonus action
- Remove Prof Bonus from companion damage rolls
- Allow increasing CR for companion or increasing ability scores, not both.
- Require Spell Slots to be spent in order to utilize RAW Bestial Fury.

What do you all think?