View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Ranger Fix?

2016-07-14, 02:44 PM
So I'm pretty new to D&D, but I've played a character for a few sessions now and I think I have a feel for the game. One thing I noticed when I was first reading the rules was that the Ranger class seemed pretty under-powered, which was sad since I originally wanted to play a Ranger. So I decided to try to put together a slightly more powerful Ranger using the 5e chasis. Here goes:
Class Features
As a ranger, you gain the following class features.
Hit Points:
Hit Dice: 1d10 per ranger level

Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d 10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per ranger level after 1st

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity

Skills: Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
-(a) scale mail or (b) leather armor
 ē (a) two shortswords or (b) two simple melee weapons ē (a) a dungeoneerís pack or (b) an explorerís pack
 ē A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows

Favored Enemy
Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy. Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations,
beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.
When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice that is spoken by your favored enemies, if they speak one at all.
You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
In addition, you have fought them often enough to know their weaknesses and exploit them. You automatically know if one of your favored enemies is vulnerable to a specific type of damage, and your attacks deal an extra 1d4 of that damage type to them.
You choose one additional favored enemy, as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.

Natural Explorer
You are particularly familiar with one type of natural environment and are adept at traveling and surviving in such regions. Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark. When you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to your favored terrain, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill that youíre proficient in.
While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:
ē Difficult terrain doesnít slow your groupís travel. 

ē Your group canít become lost except by magical means. 

ē Even when you are engaged in another activity while
traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), 
you remain alert to danger. 

ē If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at
a normal pace. 

ē When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would. 

ē While tracking other creatures, you also learn their
exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area. You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th and 10th level. 

Fighting Styles:

At 2nd level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You canít take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again. 

Archery: You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
Defense: While you are wearing armor, you gain a + 1 bonus to AC.
When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
Close Quarters Shooter: You are trained in making ranged attacks at close quarters. When making a ranged attack while you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature, you do not have disadvantage on the attack roll. Your ranged attacks ignore half cover and three quarters cover against targets within 30 feet of you. Finally, you have a +1 bonus to attack rolls on ranged attacks.

By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of nature to cast spells, much as a druid does. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the ranger spell list.
Spell Slots:
The Ranger table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spellís level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell animal friendship and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast animal friendship using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher: You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the ranger spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Ranger table shows when you learn more ranger spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 5th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the ranger spells you know and replace it with another spell from the ranger spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

The Following spells are added to the rangerís spell list (see PHB for descriptions):
Flaming Sphere
Melfís Acid Arrow
Find Familiar (Your familiar must be of the beast type)

Spellcasting Ability: 
Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your ranger spells, since your magic draws on your attunement to nature. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a ranger spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Ranger Archetype
At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that you strive to emulate: Hunter, Beast Master, or Deep Stalker: all of which are detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 11th, and 15th level.

Primeval Awareness
Beginning at 3rd level, you can use your action and expend one ranger spell slot to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within up to 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This feature doesnít reveal the creaturesí location or number.
In addition if there are any aberrations, undead, or fey within 60ft and their general location, but not their identity.

Green Flame Strike:
Beginning at 3rd level, you learn to enhance your attacks with natural magic. On your turn you can make one weapon attack against an enemy, on a hit the target suffers the normal effect and green flame leaps to a different creature of your choice within 10ft of the original target. The ancillary damage equals your spellcasting modifier, and it is fire damage.
This ability improves at higher levels. At 5th level the damage to both targets increases by 1d8. At 11th level you can make two attacks with this feature. At 17th level both attacks deal 2d8 extra fire damage to the primary target and 1d8 + your spellcasting modifier to the ancillary target.
Ability Score Improvement:
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you canít increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack:
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Landís Stride
Starting at 8th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. You can also pass through nonmagical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the
entangle spell.

Peerless Tracker
Starting at 9th level, you can read the ground better than most. You can add twice your proficiency bonus to any Survival (Wisdom) check to track a creature.

Hide in Plain Sight
Starting at 10th level, you can spend 1 minute creating camouflage for yourself. You must have access to fresh mud, dirt, plants, soot, and other naturally occurring materials with which to create your camouflage.
Once you are camouflaged in this way, you can try to hide by pressing yourself up against a solid surface, such as a tree or wall, that is at least as tall and wide as you are. Also you add twice your proficiency bonus to any stealth checks in terrain similar to your camouflage. You loose this bonus in 4 hours, unless you reapply the camouflage before that time.

Starting at 14th level, you can use the Hide action as a bonus action on your turn. Also, you canít be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail.

Feral Senses
At 18th level, you gain preternatural senses that help you fight creatures you canít see. When you attack a creature you canít see, your inability to see it doesnít impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it.
You are also aware of the location of any invisible creature within 30 feet of you, provided that the creature isnít hidden from you and you arenít blinded or deafened.

Foe Slayer
At 20th level, you become an unparalleled hunter of your enemies. Once on each of your turns, you can add your Wisdom modifier to the attack roll or the damage roll of an attack you make against one of your favored enemies. You can choose to use this feature before or after the roll, but before any effects of the roll are applied.

Sorry for the text block... So Green Flame Strike is obviously based on Green Flame Blade from SCAG, and the other changes are mostly for improved utility and immersion. I tried to match damage output to something like a paladin or eldritch knight. But I'm worried I might have over done it.

P.S. I didn't change the archetypes at all, Hunter seemed pretty solid and I didn't really like Beastmaster.

P.P.S. This is both my first homebrew, and my first Post, so sorry for any noob mistakes :smallredface:

2016-07-14, 05:48 PM
Honestly I don't see a need to modify the ranger's base class. They're a martial casting class with some awesome RP capability. They get an additional skill compared to the other martial classes and have more options to choose from. Additionally, if you're concerned about their viability in combat, I think you need to look at their spell selection a bit more. They have an awesome ability to either deal damage or help control the battlefield.

If you still insist on changing it here's a few things to consider. The favored enemy bonus is a bit too powerful. Compare it to the paladin's 11th level ability that adds an extra 1d8 radiant to their attacks. I get that the favored enemy bonus is targeted however that's a crazy ability to get at 1st level and it ends up applying to more than just one type of creature as you gain levels. On top of that it's targeting a damage type they're vulnerable to meaning that it actually deals 1d4 x 2. The ranger already has an awesome ability to add extra damage through hunter's mark which moves to new targets if your current target dies and applies to everybody.

Why add extra spells to their list? They're not supposed to have a lot because they're primarily martial with spells to supplement their abilities. I don't see a reason/need to add any of these. Also, if you want an animal companion take beastmaster.

Green Flame Blade....again, it's unnecessary. Pick an eldritch knight if you want that.

To sum it up, a ranger isn't going to beat face like a paladin dropping a smite. On the plus side, the ranger can sustain their damage and likely take advantage of battlefield layout better than a lot of other martial characters can. Their ability to help control the battlefield and deal damage to multiple enemies is a great capability to bring to any party. Oh and if you take things like Sniper or Great Weapon Master things become stupid (sniper more than the other). Just my thoughts, take it or leave it.

2016-07-14, 06:21 PM
Really, from what I have gathered to "fix" the Ranger you should turn them into to a barbarian, fighter, or rogue subclass.

A lot of people seem to see the Ranger less of a base class and more of a modification to other classes.

2016-07-14, 08:40 PM
I was a little worried about the favored enemy boost, I mostly put it in because I thought it might be kind a cool/make sense way to make favored enemy stronger. That said, I get that it's a bit of an over correction. Maybe 1 or 2 points of damage instead?
As for the green flame strike, I was kind of trying to match something like the paladin's improved smite or the fighter's third and fourth attacks. With hunter's mark, warlocks get something more powerful, hex, and with bladelocks similar melee output.
I like the idea of beastmaster, but it just seems very underpowered. So adding find familiar to keep some of that flavor seemed like a compromise, especially as it's still competing for known spells.

I want to stress that I really like the flavor of the ranger, I just don't know how competitive it is compared to the other martial classes. Also this is, again my first homebrew, and I expect it isn't all that good.

2016-07-14, 09:53 PM
As to R. Shakleford's point, the way I see it a ranger is kind of a combination of all the best parts of a barbarian, rouge, fighter, and Druid. They're still very much their own thing, but they are similar in some way to all of those classes. I've always seen them as stealthy, hard hitting warriors using magic as a tool when nesesary, and always knowing at least 30 ways to kill you at any time.

2016-07-15, 12:03 AM
I don't see an issue with trying to change classes around through home brew if the dm allows however I think that should really be done through paths such as hunter or beast master. The problem I see with your example is that it's changing core mechanics. For example they get a green flame blade like ability yet can also get the extra 1d8 per round from hunter if they pick that option or a hunter path would get a limited animal companion while beast master gets a little better version.
If you think it could use different or new abilities I'd say try and build a prestige class that incorporates some of those elements in a way that both makes sense and is balanced with other like abilities of that level

2016-07-15, 02:04 AM
It is a bad idea to add combat bonuses to Favored Enemy.
If you do that, you either render them balanced against their Favored Enemy, and weak against everything else; or they are OP against their Favored Enemy, and balanced against everything else. Neither outcome is good, and there is no middle ground.
Situational bonuses make balance impossible.

2016-07-15, 04:25 PM
As to R. Shakleford's point, the way I see it a ranger is kind of a combination of all the best parts of a barbarian, rouge, fighter, and Druid. They're still very much their own thing, but they are similar in some way to all of those classes. I've always seen them as stealthy, hard hitting warriors using magic as a tool when nesesary, and always knowing at least 30 ways to kill you at any time.

The problem when you bring the best of each class is that then you have a class that is unbalanced with other classes.

There was a thread that talked about "what is a ranger" on the 5e forums. That, and other places, is where my opinion really solidified that subclass or feat would be the best way to go.

But if you want your ranger to be its own thing that works too but the balancing will be weird because a lot that makes a ranger a ranger is 80% fluff/background and 20% 1 or 2 low level features that could be put into a multitude of other classes.

Just some fold for thought.