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    Post A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEACH]

    Spoiler: Changelog
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    9/28
    Moved Fell Harrier to level 13 & increased push distance.
    Moved Harrow to 17.

    9/27
    Moved Flush Out to level 18, replacing Feral Senses. Removed action requirement. No longer nullifies cover.
    Added Fell Harrier as a level 17 additional ability.

    9/17
    Adroit Wayfarer- added Medicine and removed the 3rd skill pick from the capstone upgrade.
    Preternatural Awareness - reverted to previous version, less the part copied from Natural Explorer
    Camouflage - now grants advantage on stealth checks instead of letting you sub in the ranger's wisdom modifier.

    9/12
    Adroit Wayfarer - changed every level of this feature. No longer gives limited Reliable Talent and now expands to cover all 3 skills.
    Flush Out - changed. Instead of its own bonus action, now triggers from a search or attack & always last a round.
    Harrow - changed from "weapon attack" to just "attack" per feedback from Kane0.
    Preternatural Awareness - changed to allow bonus action Search instead of previous version


    Please feel free to critique each of these Optional Class Features in isolation or together. I chose OCFs over a full variant class in part because it feels more "legitimate" in light of WotC's decision on how they want to handle adjustments to class features, but I also believe that there's value in the modularity.

    As such, each of these should be able to slot into a ranger build without relying on the other OCFs to remain balanced. If only taking one OCF in an otherwise by-the-books ranger build results in a power issue, then that OCF needs to be addressed.

    Only Flush Out and Harrow are meant to be more powerful than what they replace, as those features are meant to address the lack of good reason to stick with Ranger into the later levels.

    Adroit Wayfarer
    Replaces Favored Enemy & Foe Slayer
    At level 1, select one skill from the following list: Animal Handling, Nature, Medicine & Survival. You ignore disadvantage on ability checks made using this skill.

    At level 6, you gain proficiency in your chosen skill if you do not already have it. If you do, your proficiency bonus is instead doubled when making checks using the selected skill.

    At level 14, select a second skill from this feature’s list. You gain both previous benefits with this skill as well.

    At level 20, after rolling an ability check using one of the chosen skills, you can choose to replace your D20 result with a 20. Once you have replaced a roll in this way, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.
    Spoiler: Design Notes
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    This feature exists both because I dislike both Favored Enemy and Favored Foe and also because I feel that mastery of survival skills (and Survival in particular) is a key fantasy of playing a ranger. This OCF swaps something I just don't find compelling for something I find very important.

    With changes made following Kane0's feedback, I'm less concerned that this OCF may be OP in the wrong game. In fact, it may be a little weak at level 1, but I think that's alright given how it grows. By level 6, I think it's solid and certainly more useful than Favored Enemy.


    Preternatural Awareness
    Replaces Primeval Awareness
    Starting at level 3, maintaining a constant watch on your surroundings becomes second nature. You do not suffer a penalty to passive Perception for traveling at a fast pace, and you remain aware of your surroundings while asleep, and do not suffer disadvantage on Perception
    Spoiler: Design Notes
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    Primeval Awareness and Primal Awareness are both magical.


    Camouflage
    Replaces Hide in Plain Sight
    Starting at level 10, you are able to craft convincing camouflage for yourself or your companions in any environment. By spending one minute gathering materials from your surroundings and using them to modify the appearance of a willing creature, you can camouflage that creature to match the current environment (arctic, coastal, desert, forest, grasslands, mountains, swamp, or underdark). While camouflaged, the creature gains the following benefits:
    • They have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
    • As a bonus action, they can press themselves against a suitable wall or object. If they drop prone, they can also press against the ground or floor. When they do so, they become heavily obscured against any creature that did not see them take this bonus action. This obscurement lasts until they move or take any action other than the Hide action.


    The camouflage lasts for 8 hours, but is only effective in the environment it was crafted in. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you complete a long rest.
    Spoiler: Design Notes
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    I consider this little more than a rewrite of HiPS to not suck. It's also slightly modified to be usable on party members because I quite like the idea of rangers being able to compensate for less stealthy allies so that you don't have to split the party whenever yo


    Fell Harrier
    13th level Ranger feature
    Starting at 13th level, you are uncannily adept at herding your opponents out of advantageous positions and into traps. Whenever you hit with an attack, you can push your target 10' horizontally in a direction you choose.

    Harrow
    17th level Ranger feature
    Starting at level 17, your attacks harry and maim your opponents, opening them to following strikes. Whenever you hit a creature with an attack, the next attack against that creature has advantage if it is made before the end of your next turn.

    Flush Out
    Replaces Feral Senses
    Starting at level 18, you can focus your senses to hunt down even the most elusive prey. Once on each of your turns, you can choose one creature that you are aware of within 60’ of you. That creature cannot benefit from invisibility or obscurement until the start of your next turn.
    Last edited by Townopolis; 2021-09-28 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Changed levels for Fell Harrier and Harrow
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    Don't call it a rework - 5e Ranger optional class features

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Spoiler: Changelog
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    9/19 - aspects now gained at 5th level. Updated levels when new maneuvers & aspects are gained
    9/17 - added aspects, reduced superiority die size, removed Wilderness Guide and Do or Die, removed Rugged Skirmisher

    Wilderness Superiority
    Replaces Spellcasting
    Starting at level 2, you can perform special maneuvers in and out of combat. You gain the following abilities as you progress as a ranger:

    Maneuvers: You learn two maneuvers of your choice at level 2, which are detailed under “Maneuvers” below. Many maneuvers enhance an attack or ability check in some way, you may use one maneuver per attack or ability check.

    You learn one additional maneuver of your choice upon reaching each of the following ranger levels: 3, 7, & 13.

    Aspects: You learn two aspects of your choice at level 5. Aspects are detailed under “Aspects” below.

    You learn one additional aspect of your choice upon reaching each of the following ranger levels: 9, 11, & 17.

    Superiority Dice: Starting at level 2, you have two superiority dice, which are d6s. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain all of your used superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.

    You gain one additional superiority die upon reaching each of the following ranger levels: 5, 11, and 15

    Saving Throws: Some of your maneuvers require the target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects. The saving throw DC of your maneuvers is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.

    Improved Wilderness Superiority: At ranger level 9, your superiority dice become d8s. At ranger level 17, they become d10s.

    Dire Aspect: Starting at ranger level 13, you can draw upon your active aspects more readily and more vigorously. While you are in an aspect, you gain access to its Dire Aspect benefit in addition to its normal benefits.

    Monstrous Aspect: Starting at level 19, you can combine two aspects into one. When spending a superiority die to activate an aspect, you may instead activate two aspects. This does not cost an additional superiority die, and both aspects share concentration and a duration.
    Last edited by Townopolis; 2021-09-19 at 07:35 PM. Reason: updated levels at which new maneuvers & aspects are gained.
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    Don't call it a rework - 5e Ranger optional class features

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Spoiler: Changelog
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    9/30 - added Aspect of the Spider
    9/19 - updated aspects to use superiority dice and new Dire Aspect feature
    9/17 - added Aspects
    9/17 - removed Outmaneuver and Riposte
    9/12 - added a dexterity save to Interrupting Shot
    9/12 - added search DC and trap limit of 3 to Cunning Snare
    9/12 - updated Warning Shot's wording

    Maneuvers
    The following maneuvers are available to rangers.
    Spoiler: Design Notes
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    I intentionally excluded Precision Attack from this list as it is head-and-shoulders better than any other maneuver. In theory, but leaving it out, I both make all other maneuvers more enticing (leading to more interesting decisions) and free up some "power budget" to improve Wilderness Superiority in other ways.

    Wilderness Lore
    Roll a superiority die and add it to one Wisdom (Animal Handling), Intelligence (Nature), or Wisdom (Survival) check.

    Know the Ropes
    Roll a superiority die and add it to one Strength (Athletics), Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Intelligence (Sleight of Hand) check.

    Poultice
    As an action, roll a superiority die and touch one willing creature. That creature regains hit points equal to your die result + your Wisdom modifier.

    Natural Remedy
    As an action, touch one willing creature and make a Wisdom (Medicine) check. Roll a superiority die and add the result to the check. If you check beats a DC of 15, remove one poison or disease afflicting the touched creature.

    Cunning Snare
    As an action, you place a snare and roll a superiority die. The snare occupies one 5’ square. The next creature that enters the square must pass a Dexterity saving throw against your maneuver DC. On a failure, they stop moving and take damage equal to your superiority die result, and their speed is reduced to 0 until they spend an action to remove the snare.

    The search DC to detect your cunning snares is your maneuver DC. You can have up to 3 cunning snares at a time; if you attempt to place a 4th snare, your oldest snare is destroyed.

    Blindside
    When you hit with a weapon attack, roll a superiority die and add the result to your damage. Your target must succeed on a constitution save against your maneuver DC. On a failure, they are blinded until the start of their next turn.

    Interrupting Shot
    When you hit with a weapon attack, roll a superiority die and add the result to your damage. Your target must succeed on a dexterity save against your maneuver DC. On a failure, they are incapacitated until the end of the turn.

    Warning Shot
    When you hit with a weapon attack, roll a superiority die and add the result to the damage dealt. Then choose one creature that is surprised that you can see; that creature is no longer surprised.

    Ambush: As in TCoE.

    Bait and Switch: As in TCoE.

    Brace: As in TCoE.

    Grappling Strike: As in TCoE.

    Quick Toss: As in TCoE.

    Tactical Assessment: As in TCoE.

    Disarming Attack: As in the PHB.

    Lunging Attack: As in the PHB.

    Maneuvering Attack: As in the PHB.

    Parry: As in the PHB.

    Pushing Attack: As in the PHB.

    Sweeping Attack: As in the PHB.

    Trip Attack: As in the PHB.

    ...

    Aspects
    The following aspects are available to rangers. All aspects share the following properties:
    • Activating an aspect is done as a bonus action.
    • To activate an aspect, the ranger spends a superiority die without rolling it.
    • Aspects require concentration and end when concentration is lost or when the ranger takes a short or long rest.
    • When an aspect allows you to add your superiority die to a roll, you do not spend a new superiority die. Aspects allow you to add the die spent on their activation to multiple rolls, rerolling it each time.
    • Your superiority die can only be added to any given roll once using an aspect, even if the aspect lets you use your superiority die multiple times in a round


    Aspect of the Goose
    While in this aspect, you focus more deeply on your attacks, aiming for the vitals and vulnerabilities of your foes. When you or your animal companion hits with an attack, you can use a bonus action to add your superiority die to the damage dealt.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your attacks expose weaknesses that you can reveal to your allies. When an ally other than yourself deals damage to a target you damaged on your last turn, you can use your reaction to add your superiority die to your ally’s damage dealt.

    Aspect of the Viper
    While in this aspect, you apply a debilitating venom to your attacks. When you or your animal companion hits with an attack, you can use a bonus action to force the target to make a constitution save against your maneuver save DC. If they fail, they are poisoned until the start of your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you have learned to watch poisoned foes for their weakest moments. When an enemy poisoned by you rolls a saving throw you can use your reaction to subtract your superiority die from their saving throw result.

    Aspect of the Badger
    While in this aspect, you strike out with fury and precision and become almost a tempest of steel. Once per turn, when you or your animal companion hit with a melee attack, you can roll your superiority die and deal that much slashing damage to one creature within 5’ of you.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you are able to weave your attacks together with uncanny speed and precision. Once per round, when you or your animal companion makes an opportunity attack, you can make one offhand attack against a target within 5’ of you.

    Aspect of the Spider
    While in this aspect, you hinder your foes' movement with well-placed shots and subtle snares. When you hit with a weapon attack, you can use your bonus action to place a spider snare in their square. These snares have 1 HP, automatically grapple any creature in their square, and cannot reach outside that square. Use your maneuver save DC for the snares' AC and Athletics check result. All of your existing spider snares expire at the start of each of your turns.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you always have at least one hidden snare near you while this aspect is active. When an enemy comes within 10' of you, you can use your reaction to place a spider snare in the square they enter. This snare immediately grapples the triggering creature.

    Aspect of the Fox
    While in this aspect, you move quickly and elusively, like a fox. Your movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your instincts for evasion are heightened. As a reaction taken when an enemy targets you with an attack, you can add your superiority die to your AC against that attack only.

    Aspect of the Boar
    While in this aspect, you steel yourself against pain and redouble your resolve in the face of peril. At the start of each of your turns, roll your superiority die and gain that many temporary HP.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you can shrug off defeat for one final stand. When you would be reduced to 0 HP, but not killed outright, you can use your reaction to remain conscious. If you do, you are reduced instead to 1 HP, but your concentration ends, and you cannot enter Aspect of the Boar again until you complete a short or long rest.

    Aspect of the Cat
    While in this aspect, you are as agile and stealthy as a cat, and you can guide your companions through peril with subtlety and grace. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next stealth or acrobatics check made before your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you become more deeply attuned with the instincts of a stealthy hunter. As a reaction taken when an ally within 30’ of you makes a stealth or acrobatics check, but before learning if they succeed or fail, you can add your superiority die to their check result.

    Aspect of the Hound
    While in this aspect, you embody the speed, power, and loyalty of a hound. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next athletics or animal handling check made before your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you can devote yourself fully to shepherding beast and folk alike through the world. As a reaction taken when an ally within 30’ of you makes an athletics or animal handling check, but before learning if they succeed or fail, you can add your superiority die to their check result.

    Aspect of the Hawk
    While in this aspect, you focus your senses to discern the most important details both near and far. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next perception or medicine check made before your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your senses are sharpened even further. As a reaction taken when an ally within 30’ of you makes a perception or medicine check, but before learning if they succeed or fail, you can add your superiority die to their check result.

    Aspect of the Elk
    While in this aspect, you focus not on on particular lesson from nature, but turn your attention more broadly to the world around you. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next survival or nature check made before your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your survival instincts are heightened to an uncanny degree. As a reaction taken when an ally within 30’ of you makes a survival or nature check, but before learning if they succeed or fail, you can add your superiority die to their check result.

    Aspect of the Rat
    While in this aspect, you draw upon the cleverness and cunning of the rat as you and your companions approach the unknown. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next investigation or sleight of hand check made before your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your understanding of the tiny rat’s world helps you think on your toes as well as if you had a surfeit of time. As a reaction taken when an ally within 30’ of you makes an investigation or sleight of hand check, but before learning if they succeed or fail, you can add your superiority die to their check result.

    Aspect of the Owl
    While in this aspect, you embody the measured and careful thought associated with owls, but also the predator guile they display when observing their foes. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next insight or history check made before your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your capacity for studying and observing those you meet becomes almost second nature. As a reaction taken when an ally within 30’ of you makes an insight or history check, but before learning if they succeed or fail, you can add your superiority die to their check result.
    Last edited by Townopolis; 2021-09-30 at 08:54 PM. Reason: updated aspects
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    Don't call it a rework - 5e Ranger optional class features

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Adroit Wayfarer: It does appear to be an improvement over Favored Enemy, however I would argue too there is much depth and not enough breadth which doesnt serve in your favor here. You become godlike at either Nature or Survival (I wouldn't expect to see animal handling picked often if at all) however you never get the chance to expand into other skills like you can with selecting more FEs.

    Preternatural Awareness: Seems alright, but directly doubles up on aspects of Natural Explorer (which this doesn't replace)

    Camouflage: It's better, but still not good. It would be rare that someone (especially the ranger) would have a better WIS than DEX (clerics and druids, maybe the odd heavy armor fighter or paladin) and at level 10 its still the ability to... hide as a bonus action without existing cover; if you sacrifice all your movement and actions. Is this common? Cantrips exist that can make cover if there isn't any.

    Flush Out: Sounds good (better than Vanish at least), but often you will still need to use the Search action if they are hidden.

    With both Camouflage and Flush Out, I think there should be something in earlier levels to flag that rangers are supposed to be good at hiding and/or seeking. It adds to the cohesion, most other classes will have setup and payoff of these themes with their features.

    Harrow: Might want to make it any attack, Rangers can get attack roll cantrips with their fighting style and this is level 18 so nobody is going to dip to get it.

    Wilderness superiority: Interesting swapping casting for maneuvers, very difficult to comment on balance. On first eyeball doesn't appear broken and I can imagine some people opting for either one so I'll say balanced enough for first pass. Learning a new one for each spell you would otherwise know is a lot of maneuvers though.

    Do or Die: Interesting using Hit Die for things other than healing. Very table dependent if this is really weak (long adventuring days and lacking other sources of healing) or really strong (short days with a bard, life cleric, etc).

    Rugged Skirmisher: At first read feels like a capstone. It does mean you're doing significantly more maneuvering than a BM, which may annoy BMs as it's kinda their thing.

    Wilderness Lore: Seems fine, but stacks with Adroit Wayfarer and potentially Guidance for crazy rolls.

    Know the Ropes: Adding to both Athletics and Acrobatics on demand is pretty damn good

    Poultice: Also pretty damn good, not so much in combat but whenever you have dice left to spare like before a short rest

    Natural Remedy: Odd that Poultice doesn't allow you to boost Medicine like Wilderness Lore and Know the Ropes do, this seems fine though

    Cunning Snare: Are they spottable, and do they expire? Seems fun if a bit broken if you can make a minefield given enough time.

    Outmaneuver: Isn't this like the BM maneuver but better?

    Blindside: Blinded is a nice condition alternative to prone/disarm/frightened/goaded

    Interrupting Shot: Potentially far too good given there's no save and can be used outside of your own turn.

    Warning Shot: Recover probably isn't the right word, I think you mean 'one creature is no longer surprised and can act normally' or something similar. A bit more niche and I imagine will be picked less often than others but still interesting.

    One thing you might want to do is make a dummy build of a BM and an OCF Ranger to directly compare. I have a suspicion that the total package of what the Ranger gets exceeds the BM and that might be both too strong and aggravate anyone that wants to play a BM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    I've made some changes based on Kane0's feedback, and two abilities were largely rewritten.

    Camouflage hasn't been changed, but I just haven't gotten to it yet and want to spend some time working on it.

    Adroit Wayfarer has been reworked. It now doesn't give a bonus proficiency at level 1, and only gives expertise at level 6 if you're already proficient, but it does expand to cover the other two skills with the later progressions.

    This OCF is the most bent toward my personal wants. The main point was always that it felt awful to me not to be the best at Survival as a ranger, but it also felt like a waste of resources to spend my Canny bonus on it. This feature was always built to provide supremacy in Survival, and the other two skills were added because I figured Beastmasters might prefer Animal Handling supremacy, and some DMs probably make Nature as semi-useful as Survival. Also, those three skills are all the ranger class skills that aren't really good.

    However, as Kane0 points out, anyone taking Wilderness Superiority here can also double-up with Wilderness Lore. I had written Adroit Wayfarer to shoulder all the weight of boosting your Survival check without significantly draining your resources. With that pointed out to me, I've reworked the ability to be closer in my estimation to Favored Enemy/Foe's power level at low level and to add the breadth Kane0 found lacking at higher levels.

    Preternatural Awareness has also been significantly changed and is now basically Keen Eye from Kane0's workshopped ranger, but in OCF form. I felt that keeping the fast pace bonus was fine, but the rest had to go. I had originally added the part lifted from Natural Explorer because... I wanted it, but felt the rest of Natural Explorer was that awful combination of hard to use and OP when you finally do get to use it. However, I'm accepting that that probably isn't a good thing to include in an ability that doesn't replace Natural Explorer. So between this and the feedback that rangers want for something early that emphasizes their ability to hide or seek, I thought that bonus action Search really fit the bill.

    Flush Out now keys off of a Search action or an attack. Now that I have an bonus action Search OCF, why not have this feature trigger from it and address another piece of Kane0's feedback? I also added that it can be triggered directly before an attack because I don't want any of these OCFs to assume you took another OCF. Also made it always last for a round in case you need to use it on an actual regular action Search sometime.

    Harrow now works with any attack.

    Interrupting Shot now allows a Dexterity save. It is mainly meant to be a surer way of breaking concentration, but between somehow making it only work on your turn and giving it a save, I felt that the save was the most in-line with how maneuvers are generally designed. I figured either Dex or Str would make it easier to land the incapacitate than a typical concentration save, and I ultimately landed on Dex because I had to decide and I figure it makes sense.

    Cunning Snare can now be detected with a search against your maneuver DC and has a 3 trap limit.

    Warning Shot has just had its wording updated.

    As far as Wilderness Superiority goes, the thing is that it has to be more powerful than BM maneuvers. Rangers' half-casting is more powerful than EK 1/3-casting, even including the supplemental features that EK gets (which largely massage the fact that EK has to sacrifice the best Attack action in the game to cast a lot of spells). Since Wilderness Superiority is replacing half casting, it's going to end up providing more than BM maneuvers.

    Unless I'm wrong, and BM maneuvers are better than Ranger spellcasting, but I don't think so.

    The other option is to replace some of the subfeatures, like Do or Die and Rugged Skirmisher with something that doesn't relate to maneuvers. That seems like we're straying into overly-convoluted territory, but I'm not totally closed to the idea of easing off on the maneuvers to preserve BM's "ownership" of maneuvers and including non-maneuver-based subfeatures in Wilderness Superiority. It'll be harder (for me, at least) to gauge its overall power, but if it needs to happen...
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    Don't call it a rework - 5e Ranger optional class features

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    As far as Wilderness Superiority goes, the thing is that it has to be more powerful than BM maneuvers. Rangers' half-casting is more powerful than EK 1/3-casting, even including the supplemental features that EK gets (which largely massage the fact that EK has to sacrifice the best Attack action in the game to cast a lot of spells). Since Wilderness Superiority is replacing half casting, it's going to end up providing more than BM maneuvers.
    A valid train of thought, however may I provide a counterargument by comparing the BM to the OCF ranger.

    - Base chassis appear on par except for the difference of heavy armor vs a third skill. Tasha's rates a skill as being more valuable than an armor category.
    - Both classes get Fighting Style and Extra attack (1), Fighter getting the former 1 level earlier and ranger getting the latter 1 level earlier.

    - Fighters get Extra Attack (2) and (3), Second Wind and Action Surge which are all very solid class features plus Indomitable which is basically a ribbon. They also get two extra ASIs, so lets count this as 6 features and 1 ribbon.
    - Rangers get Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer, Primeval Awareness, Land's Stride, HiPS, Vanish, Feral Senses and Foe Slayer. That would normally be like 5 ribbons and 3 features but we can trade most if not all of them, so lets be generous and say 6 features and 2 ribbons.

    Now, comparing superiority directly
    - Fighter DC is STR or DEX, ranger DC is WIS
    - Great lists of 23 maneuver options for both classes to choose from

    - Fighter knows 3-9 maneuvers, Ranger knows 3-6 but potentially another 3 from subclass (only 2 out of 7 don't)
    - Fighter has 4-6 dice, Ranger has 2-7 (matching at level 11, exceeding at 14, matching again at 15 until exceeding again at 18)
    - Fighter die goes from d8 to d12, Ranger also d8 to d12 one level sooner

    - Fighter gains relentless at 15 to get 1 die if starting at fight with 0
    - Ranger gains Rugged skirmisher at 13, using an action to get all dice back once per LR which becomes twice at level 19.

    Overall I'd say the ranger has a slight but noticeable lead. They're definitely comparable at least.

    But here's the kicker: The ranger hasn't factored in a subclass in the above, and the fighter has by virtue of being a battlemaster in order to make the comparison. Ranger subclasses tend to be pretty strong, and even if they weren't I don't think a tool proficiency and know your enemy (depending on the game could be a legit feature, could be a ribbon little better than an insight check) would bring things anywhere close to parity. So not only does the ranger do the Battlemaster's thing (alomost) as well as the Battlemaster does, they can still pick their own subclass on top of that.

    And then there's the fact that you can mix the two together for some truly silly combinations. WotC don't really deeply consider feats and multiclassing when they're making content but I don't think that's a luxury we can afford ourselves as homebrewers.


    Now there are ways to make it work, I would personally start with:
    - Lowering the die size one step (d8s to d6s, capping at d10s instead of d12s)
    - Requiring this suite to also replace Primeval Awareness (which relies on spell slots)
    - Nerfing rugged skirmisher in some way (could just make it like relentless, 1 at level 13 and 2 at 19
    - Removing the bonus maneuvers known from subclass bonus spells
    - Clarifying how ranger superiority interacts with BM or Martial adept feat superiority


    Edit: Unrelated to the dice thing, for Adroit wayfarer I would like to suggest adding Medicine to the list and dropping the 'select another' portion at level 20. Having a nat20 roll for two expertised skills each once per short rest sounds fine to me.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-09-13 at 05:52 AM.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Nice first run at it.

    It is a bit wide. While there is a common theme (woodsy dude), there isn't much mechanically tying it all together.

    You are hanging a bunch of stuff on skills. Some of your stuff keys off using skills in combat. What if you doubled down on that?

    Kill stealing maneuvers. I get it, they are an existing mechanic. But they belong to the BM, not the Ranger.

    Hook in the skill mechanics to the combat mechanics. What if your choice of skills to boost changed how you fight?

    Animal Handling
    * Beastmaster type companions?
    Athletics
    * Repositioning in combat, mobility, flanking
    Insight
    * Riposte and counter attacks (knowing what your opponent is going to do)
    Investigation
    * Exploit terrain
    Nature
    * Favored Foe type mechanics (can prep to gain a benefit against a specific kind of creature?)
    Perception
    * Find weakness (hunter's mark ish)
    Stealth
    * Ambushes, alpha strikes
    Survival
    * Poisons and poultices

    These match many of your mechanics. I'm making the (somewhat radical) suggestion that you embrace something like this.

    So the Ranger picks some skills (from their list) to specialize in. These give them special abilities tied to that skill, both in and out of combat.

    You could make it less "siloed" by simply requiring each ability choice to require training in the skill. Ie, if there is a choice to take "Disruptive Strike: when a creature you can see within range of your weapon hits with an attack, you can expend a reaction to move up to your speed and make a weapon attack them first. If your attack hits, the triggering attack must be rerolled; if your triggered reaction attack is a melee weapon attack, the reroll is at disadvantage.", you must be trained in Insight first.

    (Note that the above is a very strong feature.)

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    A valid train of thought, however may I provide a counterargument by comparing the BM to the OCF ranger.

    - Base chassis appear on par except for the difference of heavy armor vs a third skill. Tasha's rates a skill as being more valuable than an armor category.
    - Both classes get Fighting Style and Extra attack (1), Fighter getting the former 1 level earlier and ranger getting the latter 1 level earlier.

    - Fighters get Extra Attack (2) and (3), Second Wind and Action Surge which are all very solid class features plus Indomitable which is basically a ribbon. They also get two extra ASIs, so lets count this as 6 features and 1 ribbon.
    - Rangers get Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer, Primeval Awareness, Land's Stride, HiPS, Vanish, Feral Senses and Foe Slayer. That would normally be like 5 ribbons and 3 features but we can trade most if not all of them, so lets be generous and say 6 features and 2 ribbons.

    Now, comparing superiority directly
    - Fighter DC is STR or DEX, ranger DC is WIS
    - Great lists of 23 maneuver options for both classes to choose from

    - Fighter knows 3-9 maneuvers, Ranger knows 3-6 but potentially another 3 from subclass (only 2 out of 7 don't)
    - Fighter has 4-6 dice, Ranger has 2-7 (matching at level 11, exceeding at 14, matching again at 15 until exceeding again at 18)
    - Fighter die goes from d8 to d12, Ranger also d8 to d12 one level sooner

    - Fighter gains relentless at 15 to get 1 die if starting at fight with 0
    - Ranger gains Rugged skirmisher at 13, using an action to get all dice back once per LR which becomes twice at level 19.

    Overall I'd say the ranger has a slight but noticeable lead. They're definitely comparable at least.

    But here's the kicker: The ranger hasn't factored in a subclass in the above, and the fighter has by virtue of being a battlemaster in order to make the comparison. Ranger subclasses tend to be pretty strong, and even if they weren't I don't think a tool proficiency and know your enemy (depending on the game could be a legit feature, could be a ribbon little better than an insight check) would bring things anywhere close to parity. So not only does the ranger do the Battlemaster's thing (alomost) as well as the Battlemaster does, they can still pick their own subclass on top of that.
    I feel like this may indicate that the other OCFs may be too powerful. Fighter benefits a lot from the best Attack action in the game and Action Surge; those two features largely carry the class. Ranger, meanwhile, relies more on their spellcasting to carry them. You note that both classes have about the same number of features, but I believe that most ranger features are significantly less potent than the fighter's attack progression and Action Surge. If the OCFs replacing those features are competitive with the likes of Action Surge, then I think we have a problem there.

    Exceptions are for Flush Out and Harrow, since those are specifically meant to boost high level rangers above multiclassing. I would argue that Fighter also needs such a boost, so for now I'm going to exclude Flush Out and Harrow in comparisons. Without those, a spellcasting ranger with all the other OCFs shouldn't be better than a fighter, and neither should a full OCF ranger or a ranger with Wilderness Superiority and otherwise only taking from the PHB and Tasha's.

    With all that said, I think we're at the point where I need to run some simulations. That may take a while, especially since I can only work on this on my lunch (e.g. now) and after work, if I have enough energy left over. For now, though, I want to lay out some of the principles I'm working on and see how they scan.

    First, I'm going to split "exploration" into two categories. Overland exploration and getting to the adventure will be considered "travel." This is the most ignored part of the game, and not without reason. Meanwhile, exploring the adventure location will be called "infiltration." This is generally a far more valuable thing to spec into (and part of why Deft Explorer is so much better than Natural Explorer).

    Published Ranger
    1. Has Martial (i.e. good) sustained DPR, though perhaps less than Fighter and Paladin.
    2. Has Martial (i.e. good) damage mitigation, though perhaps less than Barbarian, Fighter, and Paladin.
    3. Attempts to be the premier travel class.
    4. Is a decent, though not exceptional, infiltration class.

    The published ranger uses spellcasting to augment all of these and also provide other benefits, usually with a support bent.
    • Goodberry & Cure Wounds provide healing
    • Fog Cloud, Pass Without Trace, and Nondetection provide group stealth benefits
    • A whole bunch of damage-boosting spells are actually how ranger's get their DPR on par with other martials.
    • Summons are probably the biggest boost to effectiveness the ranger has.


    Homebrew OCF Ranger
    With this in mind, my goals for these OCFs is to allow a non-magical ranger to accomplish largely the same thing. As Yakk notes, I'm doubling down on skills, and that's because that's the clearest path I can see to replacing the non-combat benefits rangers are able to provide through spellcasting (and because I like to emphasize exploration on my rangers). To this end, with some or all of these OCFs, a ranger should:
    1. have Martial (i.e. good) DPR, but less than Fighter or Paladin.
    2. have Martial (i.e. good) damage mitigation, but less than Barbarian, Fighter, and Paladin
    3. be the premier travel class.
    4. have all or most travel features translate into infiltration
    5. be behind the rogue in infiltration, but good enough to stand out for reconnaissance
    6. utilize party support functionality to differentiate themselves from most Fighters and Rogues in combat and infiltration. A fighter (or barbarian) should be the DPR guy, and a rogue (or... bard, *grumble grumble*) should be the infiltrator. In contrast, and to evade the resentment that comes with too much overlap, ranger should be "good enough" and also be able to make nearby allies "good enough" as needed.
    7. have some healing


    With this in mind, I'm feeling pretty comfortable with how Adroit Wayfarer and superiority-dice-based skill boosts, including Wilderness Guide, compare to rogue features. We may need to revisit that next, but for now I'm going to write out some simulations when I can, and if we don't find that fighters have a clear DPR lead at any given level, then that will be a clear indication we need to tone things down.

    Edit: I just want to recognize Yakk's suggestion as very interesting and having a lot of potential. I think I need to work through these simulations before I dive into it, but it's definitely something to consider once I'm to the step of implementing changes again.
    Last edited by Townopolis; 2021-09-13 at 03:48 PM.
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    I feel like this may indicate that the other OCFs may be too powerful.
    -snip-
    If the OCFs replacing those features are competitive with the likes of Action Surge, then I think we have a problem there.

    Exceptions are for Flush Out and Harrow, since those are specifically meant to boost high level rangers above multiclassing.
    Good point, agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    I would argue that Fighter also needs such a boost,
    Also agreed, I make some tweaks for higher level fighters too.

    Edit:
    A thought that might make your job easier: Convert the superiority thing over to a new ranger subclass (or rework the Hunter maybe), powered by spell slots to maintain balance. Might be easier to gauge strength and feel like less of a step on the battlemaster.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-09-13 at 05:01 PM.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Too late, I already started going into an only mildly in-depth simulation and made myself want to die. Then I decided to try something more sane and came up with this, comparing a longbow BM with a longbow Swarmkeeper:

    Note: the swarmkeeper uses 1 die/short rest on Poultice. This heals less than Second Wind, but can heal anyone in the party.
    Also Note: I decided that the swarmkeeper should (aside from the Poultice) devote everything to offense. Reason being: if Fighter can only fight, and Ranger can fight or scout, then Ranger had better be a worse fighter even when going all-out. Otherwise, Ranger is strictly better than Fighter. This includes taking Nature's Veil and Favored Foe as the most DPR-oriented Ranger OCFs available. I assume each Favored Foe lasts 3 rounds.
    Also Also Note: I had the fighter stick with a longbow over taking crossbow expert. This may have been a mistake.
    Edit: And I'm ignoring the additional effects of both Menacing Attack and Blindside. The fighter has a better save DC, and Menacing provides defensive benefits. The ranger has a worse save DC, but Blindside actually improves accuracy on the second shot if it lands on the first. This gets super fiddly, and I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping they're roughly even.

    I have included damage without ranger maneuvers in italics.

    Spoiler: Level 5: Fred Fightstone VS. Raccoon Rick
    Show

    +3 Prof, 18 Dex, Archery Style, Sharpshooter
    3+4+2 = +9 to hit
    +9/8.5 or +4/18.5

    VS 13 AC
    85% hit rate, 60% hit rate w/sharpshooter
    8.5*.85=7.225 average damage / normal attack
    18.5*.6=11.1 average damage / sharpshooter attack

    Fighter: 2 attacks/round. 1 Action surge for +2 attacks. 4 Menacing Attacks for +4.5 damage each.
    22.2 average damage/round. + 40 damage/short rest
    564 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    10.5 HP/short rest from Second Wind

    Ranger: 2 attacks/round. +3.5/round swarm. 2 Blindsides for +4.5 damage each.
    6 rounds of +2.5 damage from Favored Foe
    25.7 average damage/round. +9 damage/short rest. +15 damage/long rest
    556 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    6.5 HP/short rest from 1 Poultice

    NO WILDERNESS: 526 damage/day
    Reduce Wilderness Die Size: 2 Blindsides for +3.5 damage = +7 damage/short rest.
    550 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).

    Spoiler: Level 10
    Show
    +4 prof, 20 Dex, Archery Style, +1 longbow, Sharpshooter
    4+5+2+1 = +12 to hit
    +12/10.5 or +8/20.5

    VS 15 AC
    90% hit rate, 65% hit rate w/sharpshooter
    10/5*.9=11.25 average damage / normal attack
    20.5*.65=13.325 average damage / sharpshooter attack
    20.5*.8775=18 average damage / sharpshooter attack w/ advantage

    Fighter: 2 attacks/round. 1 Action surge for +2 attacks. 5 Menacing Attacks for +5.5 damage each.
    26.65 average damage/round. + 54.15 damage/short rest
    695.45 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    15.5 HP/short rest from Second Wind

    Ranger: 2 attacks/round. +3.5/round swarm. 3 Blindsides for +5.5 damage each. 4 additional Blindsides for +5.5 each. 12 rounds of +3.5 damage from Favored Foe, 8 attacks with advantage from Nature’s Veil
    30.15 average damage/round.+16.5 damage/short rest. +37.4 damage/long rest from Nature’s Veil & +42 damage /long rest from Favored Foe & +22 damage/long rest from Do or Die.
    753.6 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    8.5 HP/short rest from 1 Poultice

    NO WILDERNESS: 682.4 damage/day
    Reduce Wilderness Die Size: 3 Blindsides for +4.5 damage each. 4 additional Blindsides for 5.5 damage each.
    744.9 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).

    Also Remove Do or Die: 722.9 damage/day

    Spoiler: Level 15
    Show

    +5 prof, 20 Dex, Archery Style, +1 longbow, Sharpshooter
    5+5+2+1 = +13 to hit
    +13/10.5 or +9/20.5

    VS 17 AC
    85% hit rate, 60% hit rate w/sharpshooter
    10.5*.85=8.925 average damage / normal attack
    20.5*.6=12.3 average damage / sharpshooter attack
    20.5**.84=17.22 average damage / sharpshooter attack w/ advantage

    Fighter: 3 attacks/round. 1 Action surge for +3 attacks. 6 Menacing Attacks for +5.5 damage each.
    36.9 average damage/round. + 69.9 damage/short rest
    947.7 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    20.5 HP/short rest from Second Wind

    Ranger: 2 attacks/round. +4.5/round swarm. 5 Blindsides for +5.5 damage each. 11 additional Blindsides for 5.5 each. 15 rounds of +4.5 damage from Favored Foe, 10 attacks with advantage from Nature’s Veil
    29.1 average damage/round. +27.5 damage/short rest. +49.2 damage/long rest from Natures Veil & +67.5 damage/long rest from Favored Foe. +60.5 damage from Do or Die & Rugged Skirmisher.
    841.7 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    8.5 HP/short rest from 1 Poultice

    No Wilderness: 698.7 damage/day
    Reduce Wilderness Die Size: 5 Blindsides for +4.5 damage each. 6 additional Blindsides for 4.5 damage each. 5 additional Blindsides for 5.5 each.
    820.7 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).

    Also Remove Do or Die: 793.2 damage/day
    Keep Do or Die, but Remove Rugged Skirmisher: 793.7

    Spoiler: Level 20
    Show

    +6 prof, 20 Dex, Archery Style, +1 longbow, Sharpshooter
    6+5+2+1 = 14
    +14/10.5 or +10/20.5

    VS 19 AC
    80% hit rate, 55% hit rate w/ sharpshooter
    10.5*.8=8.4 average damage / normal attack
    20.5*.55=11.275 average damage / sharpshooter attack
    20.5*.7975=16.35 average damage / sharpshooter attack w/ advantage

    Fighter: 4 attacks/round. 2 Action surges for +4 attacks. 6 Menacing Attacks for +6.5 damage each.
    45.1 average damage/round. + 129.2 damage/short rest
    1,289.6 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    25.5 HP/short rest from Second Wind

    Ranger: 2 attacks/round. +4.5/round swarm.6 Blindsides for +6.5 damage each. 6 additional blindsides for 5.5 each & 14 additional Blindsides for 6.5 each. 18 rounds of +7.5 damage from Favored Foe, 12 attacks with advantage from Nature’s Veil
    27.05 average damage/round. +39 damage/short rest. +60.9 damage/long rest from Nature’s Veil & +135 damage/long rest from Favored Foe & +130 damage/long rest from Do or Die & Rugged Skirmisher.
    977.9 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).
    9.5 HP/short rest from 1 Poultice

    NO WILDERNESS: 736.9
    Reduce Wilderness Die Size: 6 Blindsides for +5.5 each. 20 Additional Blindsides for 5.5 each.
    945.9 damage per “adventuring day” (assuming 20 rounds & 2 short rests).

    Also Remove Do or Die: 912 damage/day
    Keep Do or Die, but Remove 1 Rugged Skirmisher: 907.4


    And now my head hurts, and I've caught too many math errors.

    My first takeaway is that Ranger starts out really close to fighter in terms of average damage, and fighter doesn't take off until they get that 3rd attack at level 11. At level 10, even without any maneuvers (or spells) ranger is almost caught up to fighter in terms of average DPR. I'm going to hold further analysis until I'm less braindead from staring at math after work.

    -----

    Edit: Okay, it's my lunch, and I have a few thoughts. First, until fighters get their 3rd attack, they're really not much more damaging than other martials. For this reason, I want to be extra careful about how powerful the lower-level OCFs are. For example, I'm thinking Preternatural Awareness should be reverted to its original form, less the benefit lifted from Natural Explorer, i.e.

    Preternatural Awareness.
    Replaces Primeval Awareness
    Starting at level 3, maintaining a constant watch on your surroundings becomes second nature. You remain aware of your surroundings while sleeping and do not suffer a penalty to Wisdom (Perception) checks due to being unconscious, and you do not suffer a penalty to passive Perception for traveling at a fast pace.

    I'll also want to be careful when I get to improving Camouflage. It should be about as good as Nature's Veil, but no more.

    Adroit Wayfarer, I think is pretty good, though I probably will implement the nerf to its capstone element and add Medicine (I initially left it off because Medicine isn't on Ranger's skill list, but ehh).

    -----

    Back to the damage comparison, I think reducing the die a step makes sense, and I also think that Do or Die should definitely not come before level 11. In fact, because that subfeature has been pointed out as having an unreliable effect on the game, I'm comfortable removing it entirely.

    Meanwhile, it strikes me that Favored Foe and Nature's Veil add a bunch of damage. More importantly, they stack perfectly with the current iteration of Wilderness Superiority in a way they can't with Spellcasting. This is because Favored Foe takes concentration and Nature's Veil takes your bonus action. Most of the good combat ranger spells require one or both of these. At the very least, all the good ranger combat buffs that aren't Conjure Volley require concentration.

    Because of this, Favored Foe is held back in a spellcasting build because it competes for concentration. In contrast to this, it is super powerful with maneuvers, where it can just hog concentration all day long. I think it's possible to make a maneuvers ranger that is still balanced, but I think that would take more energy, and a better head for math, than I am able to provide.

    Instead, I think I need to add something to Wilderness Superiority to eat up concentration and bonus actions, and I think I have the solution:

    Aspect of the Viper
    As a bonus action, you can spend a superiority die without rolling it to enter the aspect of the viper. This aspect lasts until you take a short or long rest or until you lose your concentration on it (as if you were concentrating on a spell). While in this aspect, you gain the following benefit:
    • When you hit with an attack, you can use your bonus action to roll your superiority die without spending it. The creature hit by your attack takes poison damage equal to the result.


    Now, I'm already thinking that we should reduce the superiority die size by a step. Even with that, though, this aspect will deal more damage than Favored Foe does. Favored Foe does come with its own uses, instead of consuming superiority dice that could also be spent on maneuvers, but that's less compelling if the damage from aspects is just better. To make the damage comparable, however, would require reducing ranger maneuver dice by two sizes, to d4->d6->d8. This makes the skill maneuvers seem pretty weak (attack maneuvers still have those tack-on effects). However, there may be a solution to that, and one that lets me absorb Wilderness Guide and Rugged Skirmisher into an aspect-base package while also reducing the number of maneuvers and superiority dice that Wilderness Superiority gives. It would still end up arguably more powerful than BM maneuvers, but it might be different enough to not feel as much like stepping on BM's toes.

    But first, what are your thoughts on this test and the proposed solution? Also, because two-weapon fighting requires your bonus action:

    Aspect of the Badger
    As a bonus action, you can spend a superiority die without rolling it to enter the aspect of the badger. This aspect lasts until you take a short or long rest or until you lose your concentration on it (as if you were concentrating on a spell). While in this aspect, you gain the following benefit:
    • The first time you hit with a weapon attack on your turn, you can roll your superiority die without spending it. One creature within 5' of you takes slashing damage equal to the result.


    More Edits:

    After thinking about it more, I definitely want to use aspects, and I definitely want to use them to replace all the stuff with Wilderness Guide and Rugged Skirmisher. Here are my further thoughts.

    Without something to compete with it for concentration, Favored Foe is way out of line with the power budget for that feature "slot."
    1. Therefore, I'm going to introduce Aspects, which vie for concentration and provide lasting benefits
    2. In order to keep Aspects from being too powerful, they're going to use a d4 for their effects.
    3. Aspects will use superiority dice to activate. I considered having them use their own resource, but I like having aspects and maneuvers share a resource because it mirrors the fungibility of spell slots.
    4. Superiority dice are being reduced a step, not two. Aspects will still use a d4, but I feel that maneuvers need a bigger die, now to compete with aspects.
    5. Becuase Aspects give lasting benefits for a superiority die, the number of dice the ranger acquires can be reduced. I'm reducing it to 5 total.
    6. Wilderness Guide is being removed and its functionality replaced by aspects. Because this subfeature previously counted as "2 maneuvers" it's being replaced by a maneuver and an aspect pick.
    7. The bonus maneuvers for conclaves that give bonus spells are being rolled into the base ability
    8. The total maneuvers + aspects that ranger gets is being reduced to 10, from 11 (including conclave bonus)
    9. Do or Die is being removed. It is too variable in power.
    10. Rugged Skirmisher is being replaced by Dire Aspect (13) and Monstrous Aspect (19), which provide scaling for aspects. I'm no longer going for giving ranger something to match the "hero moments" of throwing on Swift Quiver for a fight. Instead, this feature will focus on reliability and overall power.


    I'm updating the content in posts 2 and 3 to reflect these changes.
    Last edited by Townopolis; 2021-09-17 at 09:04 PM.
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Your aspects sound a lot like stances, sounds interesting. Costs a bonus action amd a die to start, lasts for as long as concentration does?
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-09-17 at 09:56 PM.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Exactly. I'm just calling them aspects because it sounds more ranger-y than stances.

    If lasting indefinitely (until you rest) seems too open-ended, I've considered having the combat-applicable aspects last for up to a minute, while the ability check aspects last for an hour or more.

    Having them last indefinitely, however, allows them to stretch to different time scales. In theory, players will be encouraged to switch between aspects by their limited scope (and, if your campaign is combat-heavy enough that you're best off just sitting in a combat aspect, then I suspect you're not getting value out of ranger's exploration capabilities and could probably use the help).

    As far as that limited scope, I'm not sure if 2 or 3 skills is right for the ability check (i.e. exploration) aspects. Three is how many skills a maneuver usually covers, but I think aspects are already stronger than your typical maneuver and mostly limited by concentration. Then again, the adjustments I've made to Wilderness Superiority in the second post are based on the expectation that rangers will be able to extract significant value out of their aspects, so broadening the exploration aspects so that you're mostly just flipping between combat and exploration modes rather than juggling aspects during exploration may be warranted.
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Viper I suspect isnt enough damage for both bonus action and concentration, especially since its poison type.

    Badger is a lot more competitive than Viper, especially if you can double up with Hunter ranger to target a secondary creature. Though i should note wording is such that if your companion hits you can apply the damage even if you arent anywhere nearby, such as sitting at the back with a bow.

    Fox is a solid all rounder, but is the only one that doesnt have a die attached to it (see below)

    Boar is great in Tier 1 and drops severely afterwards. Viper and Badger suffer the same really, although its worse for Viper since Badger doesnt carry an action cost to use.

    Cat/Hound/Hawk/Elk/Rat/Owl all follow the same format, which appears to make for a very nice dip incentive since they stack with Guidance, Pass Without Trace, Bardic Inspiration, some BM maneuvers, etc.
    Given you only get one with a dip i dont see much of a problem, but they also allow you to share the benefit with others at the same time as getting the bonus for yourself, i think maybe curtail doing both at the same time at least until later levels. Perhaps the reaction ends your concentration until level 9-11 or so?

    Given that you have reduced the superiority die size now and these use a sup die to function i think it only makes sense that these should allow the sup die roll rather than the d4. I think that would address the scaling problem as your sup die grows at later lebels and also reduce the mental legwork of the player since its all the same with the difference of maneuvers are one-and-dome and aspects run continually (mostly). The only one that might need another look is fox since it doesnt have a die attached to it. Perhaps add die to jump distance and AC against opp attacks?
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-09-18 at 06:21 AM.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Okay. I was worried about aspects being too powerful, especially relative to maneuvers, if they used the same die scaling, but I ran some simulations, and the scaling issue later on is REAL. Even having Dire Aspect add your Wisdom mod didn't help enough, and I kinda don't like adding more weight to attributes.

    So I'm changing aspects to use sup die scaling. I've added a point to the rules for how all aspects work to explain that you aren't spending multiple dice.

    I really don't want the exploration (cat/hound/hawk/elk/rat/owl) aspects to gain the ability to boost allies' rolls later than 5. So I made the bonus action applicable to any creature. Then I got an idea for how to add in the reaction benefit. Because of how this works, though...

    ... I've also added a point clarifying that you can't stack the same aspect on a roll. This is because...

    ... I'm changing Dire Aspect to add a reaction benefit to all aspects (and removing the Wis mod bonus). The exploration aspects now let you boost a second roll as a reaction (thus the need to establish that you can't use both your bonus action and your reaction to pump the same roll. I want you to be able to stack aspect+maneuver, but not aspect+aspect).

    And the combat aspects all also gain reaction uses when you get Dire Aspect at 13. This should help with scaling into the later tiers. They're not quite extra attacks, but should provide a decent boost to DPR (except for Badger, which is an extra attack, but relies on OAs and is also melee only, and I honestly believe that melee rangers need the extra help).

    I've also changed Viper to Goose and added a new Viper aspect. This, like fox, doesn't scale with superiority dice. However, I feel that they'll both scale well enough with how dangerous your enemies are, and I think that's fine. Let me know what you think!

    Spoiler: Updated Aspects
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    Aspects
    The following aspects are available to rangers. All aspects share the following properties:
    • Activating an aspect is done as a bonus action.
    • To activate an aspect, the ranger spends a superiority die without rolling it.
    • Aspects require concentration and end when concentration is lost or when the ranger takes a short or long rest.
    • When an aspect allows you to add your superiority die to a roll, you do not spend a new superiority die. Aspects allow you to add the die spent on their activation to multiple rolls, rerolling it each time.
    • Your superiority die can only be added to any given roll once using an aspect, even if the aspect lets you use your superiority die multiple times in a round


    Dire Aspect: Starting at ranger level 13, you can draw upon your active aspects more readily and more vigorously. While you are in an aspect, you gain access to its Dire Aspect benefit in addition to its normal benefits.

    Aspect of the Goose
    While in this aspect, you focus more deeply on your attacks, aiming for the vitals and vulnerabilities of your foes. When you or your animal companion hits with an attack, you can use a bonus action to add your superiority die to the damage dealt.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you can focus in even more, shutting out distractions in order to fell your foes. When you or your animal companion hits with an attack, you can use your reaction to add your superiority die to the damage dealt.

    Aspect of the Viper
    While in this aspect, you apply a debilitating venom to your attacks. When you or your animal companion hits with an attack, you can use a bonus action to force the target to make a constitution save against your maneuver save DC. If they fail, they are poisoned until the start of your next turn.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you can spend extra care to make your applied venom harder to shake off. When an enemy rolls their saving throw against this aspect’s effect, you can use your reaction to subtract your superiority die from their result.

    Aspect of the Badger
    While in this aspect, you strike out with fury and precision and become almost a tempest of steel. Once per turn, when you or your animal companion hit with a melee attack, you can roll your superiority die and deal that much slashing damage to one creature within 5’ of you.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you are able to weave your attacks together with uncanny speed and precision. Once per round, when you or your animal companion makes an opportunity attack, you can make one offhand attack against a target within 5’ of you.

    Aspect of the Fox
    While in this aspect, you move quickly and elusively, like a fox. Your movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your instincts for evasion are heightened. As a reaction taken when an enemy targets you with an attack, you can add your superiority die to your AC against that attack only.

    Aspect of the Boar
    While in this aspect, you steel yourself against pain and redouble your resolve in the face of peril. At the start of each of your turns, roll your superiority die and gain that many temporary HP.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you can shrug off defeat for one final stand. When you would be reduced to 0 HP, but not killed outright, you can use your reaction to remain conscious. If you do, you are reduced instead to 1 HP, but your concentration ends, and you cannot enter Aspect of the Boar again until you complete a short or long rest.

    Aspect of the Cat
    While in this aspect, you are as agile and stealthy as a cat, and you can guide your companions through peril with subtlety and grace. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next stealth or acrobatics check.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you become more deeply attuned with the instincts of a stealthy hunter. As a reaction, you can add your superiority die to one stealth or acrobatics check of one creature within 30’ of you.

    Aspect of the Hound
    While in this aspect, you embody the speed, power, and loyalty of a hound. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next athletics or animal handling check.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, you can devote yourself fully to shepherding beast and folk alike through the world. As a reaction, you can add your superiority die to one athletics or animal handling check of one creature within 30’ of you.

    Aspect of the Hawk
    While in this aspect, you focus your senses to discern the most important details both near and far. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next perception or medicine check.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your senses are sharpened even further. As a reaction, you can add your superiority die to one perception or medicne check of one creature within 30’ of you.

    Aspect of the Elk
    While in this aspect, you focus not on on particular lesson from nature, but turn your attention more broadly to the world around you. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next survival or nature check.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your survival instincts are heightened to an uncanny degree. As a reaction, you can add your superiority die to one survival or nature check of one creature within 30’ of you.

    Aspect of the Rat
    While in this aspect, you draw upon the cleverness and cunning of the rat as you and your companions approach the unknown. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next investigation or sleight of hand check.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your understanding of the tiny rat’s world helps you think on your toes as well as if you had a surfeit of time. As a reaction, you can add your superiority die to one investigation or sleight of hand check of one creature within 30’ of you.

    Aspect of the Owl
    While in this aspect, you embody the measured and careful thought associated with owls, but also the predator guile they display when observing their foes. As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30’ of you the ability to add your superiority die to their next insight or history check.

    If you have the Dire Aspect feature, your capacity for studying and observing those you meet becomes almost second nature. As a reaction, you can add your superiority die to one insight or history check of one creature within 30’ of you.


    One other thing I'm thinking about with these changes. I might want to change when you get aspects to level 5. You would still end up with 5 aspects and 5 maneuvers, but you'd only have 2-3 maneuvers before level 5, at which point you'd gain two aspects. This brings aspects online when you'd normally get level 2 spells and also when Extra Attack makes individual maneuvers a lower % boost to DPR.

    Spoiler: Potential change to maneuver/aspect gains
    Show
    Maneuvers: You learn two maneuvers of your choice at level 2, which are detailed under “Maneuvers” below. Many maneuvers enhance an attack or ability check in some way, you may use one maneuver per attack or ability check.

    You learn one additional maneuver of your choice upon reaching each of the following ranger levels: 3, 7, & 13.

    Aspects: You learn two aspects of your choice at level 5. Aspects are detailed under “Aspects” below.

    You learn one additional aspect of your choice upon reaching each of the following ranger levels: 9, 11, & 17.
    Last edited by Townopolis; 2021-09-19 at 02:25 PM. Reason: Updated dire badger effect
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Stances starting at 5 sounds reasonable, especially to avoid things like the THP one making you nigh unkillable at levels 1-2.

    Dire Goose and Viper breaks one of those 'unwritten rules' in 5e design in that you shouldn't be making reactions during your own turn. There are instances you can of course, but the intention of having your reaction is to be able to do things when it isn't your turn.

    Cat/Hound/Hawk/Elk/Rat/Owl don't have a time limit on the 'next X check', like 'within the next minute' or 'until end of next turn'.
    Dire Cat/Hound/Hawk/Elk/Rat/Owl don't have anything that triggers the reaction, such as 'when an ally makes an X check, but before the results are revealed'

    Otherwise looks pretty serviceable, I think only playtesting is going to get you much more insight.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Good catches all.

    I've updated posts 2 and 3 to feature the updated progression and aspects. The exploration aspects all now specify that the check must be before your next turn (bonus action) or that the reaction is triggered by someone rolling a check.

    Dire viper now lets you reduce the saving throw of a poisoned enemy instead of reducing their saving throw against the poison. This is to keep it in-line with the unwritten rule. I'll be sure to test it out first opportunity I get to apply this in a game, since it can now potentially confirm a save against something worse than poisoned. Theoretically, it's justified by requiring a successful hit and a failed Con save in the same round and then taking your reaction, but reducing enemy saving throws has a lot of power potential when it can be applied to full caster spells.

    Dire goose now lets you add damage to an allies attack if they focus your target, again to keep it in-line with the unwritten rule.

    So that's Wilderness Superiority ready for playtesting.

    I do want to tweak the other OCFs a little bit. I have Preternatural Awareness letting you ignore disadvantage on Perception for traveling quickly, but the big benefit should be that you can effectively be on watch while asleep. The spells from Primal Awareness aren't exactly A-list spells, so I reckon that's enough without being too much.

    Camouflage is updated to give advantage on stealth as its main benefit, and it can still let you become effectively invisible... while not moving... if you aren't caught off-guard. It should be far less combat-applicable than Nature's Veil, but the duration and ability to put it on allies should make it much better outside combat. Given that rangers deal quite good damage in the first two tiers, I'm hesitant to make Camouflage better than that.

    Adroit Explorer has pretty much all suggestions implemented, and I'm pretty happy with it--it does what I want, while also being flexible enough to adjust to taste, and I think it's better for the power downgrade it received.

    Unless you can see noteworthy flaws in those. I think the next thing I want to work on is Flush Out and Harrow. When I wrote them, I meant for them to be OP relative to Vanish and Feral Senses, but now I'm thinking I should stick to making replacer OCFs sidegrades, and make any intentionally power-boosting OCFs pure additions, which we've already seen in TCoE.

    But, for now, I think I'm going to let those rest for the coming week; we've done enough work for now just on Wilderness Superiority.
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    Unless you can see noteworthy flaws in those. I think the next thing I want to work on is Flush Out and Harrow. When I wrote them, I meant for them to be OP relative to Vanish and Feral Senses, but now I'm thinking I should stick to making replacer OCFs sidegrades, and make any intentionally power-boosting OCFs pure additions, which we've already seen in TCoE.
    No real flaws, just the aforementioned Preternatural Awareness doubling up with Favored Terrain if a Ranger happens to choose both. I wouldn't expect anyone seeing your work here to do so, but the possibility remains.

    It's fine to make flush out and harrow a little more powerful than PHB, vanish is kinda crap for when you get it and feral senses is niche but basically obviated by Blind fighting style. Both of those are level 1/2 features elsewhere.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    On the topic of the higher-level OCFs, I do think it's better to make power boosters whole new features. That way, if someone does want the extra power but also likes the original features, they can have both.

    I actually don't dislike Vanish that much, but it does have that "this is a rogue ability, just later" feel. To that end, and because I feel like bonus action search is about on par (hiding quickly is "always" useful, but Ranger has multiple ways to use your bonus action most of the time. Searching quickly is only "sometimes" useful, but it's usually a top priority when it is) I think making bonus action search a replacer for Vanish is pretty reasonable. It feels more unique to the ranger, and it should be within power budget, as mentioned.

    ...

    Vigil
    Replaces Vanish
    Starting at 14th level, you can take the Search action as a bonus action.

    ...

    Regarding Feral Senses, it occurs to me that Flush Out is very similar to it. That was intentional in a way, but I think they overlap more than I was thinking they did initially. It seems like Flush Out makes more sense as an OCF replacer for Feral Senses, since they both counter invisible enemies, just in different ways.

    I do want to adjust the wording as well. It's no longer reliant on searching or attacking, and it doesn't counter cover.

    ...

    Flush Out
    Replaces Feral Senses
    Starting at level 18, you can focus your senses to hunt down even the most elusive prey. Once on each of your turns, you can choose one creature that you are aware of within 60’ of you. That creature cannot benefit from invisibility or obscurement until the start of your next turn.

    ...

    Ultimately, I think this is more powerful than Feral Senses, since it helps your party, even if it only works against one enemy. It may need to be another bonus action option, which would also make it less synergistic with Vigil.

    Now, as far as a t3 boost to rangers, level 14 already has 2 abilities. Spellcasters get level 4 spells at 13, and my maneuvers OCF gives Dire Aspect, but there's room for something else, especially since full casters are getting level 7 spells. At level 15, all conclaves give something, although it's usually a mid-grade defensive reaction. Looking into t4, level 17 gives level 5 spells, while others get level 9. 18 gives Feral Senses, and 19 is an ASI. I think level 17 is a good level for an extra feature, and having the boosters two levels apart seems too close. So I'd put the t3 booster at 13.

    Since I think Flush Out needs to replace Feral Senses, and that puts it at level 18, the t3 & t4 boosters need to be something else. As for Harrow, the more I think about it, the less I like it. I don't dislike it per se, but giving advantage on attacks really is a touch overused. I'd also like to make these features relatively simple, to minimize bloat.

    ...

    Hidden Step
    13th level Ranger feature
    Starting at 13th level, you can move so swiftly and suddenly that you seem to shift positions in the blink of an eye. This is effectively a 10' teleport speed, but you cannot pass through solid objects this way.

    Fell Harrier
    17th level Ranger feature
    Starting at 17th level, you are uncannily adept at herding your opponents out of advantageous positions and into traps. Whenever you hit with an attack, you can push your target 5' horizontally in a direction you choose.

    ...


    It may be that Harrow is sufficiently straightforward and useful enough to be the boost rangers need. Fell Harrier is based on the idea that there's actually quite a lot of value in adjusting enemies' positions, whether to get them away from you/your allies or shuffling the bad guys into the right shape for an AoE. Not allowing a save and just triggering on any hit is pretty strong, but this is also tier 4.

    Hidden Step is... I like the idea of a 5' or 10' teleport speed. It lets you avoid OAs, extend jumps, and avoid (small) hazards efficiently. Making it pass as non-magical, which is something I'm trying to do here, may be more difficult. Passing through solid objects is the main thing I can think of that would have to be magical. What do you think?
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    Vigil
    Replaces Vanish
    Starting at 14th level, you can take the Search action as a bonus action.
    That feels really late, BA Search would largely be useful when the DM uses creatures that hide, lay traps or employ illusions during combat. By the time level 14 comes around you're talking Tremorsense, Blindsight, See Invisibility and Truesight on a semi-regular bases. I would at least build in some means of countering magical obscurement or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    Flush Out
    Replaces Feral Senses
    Starting at level 18, you can focus your senses to hunt down even the most elusive prey. Once on each of your turns, you can choose one creature that you are aware of within 60’ of you. That creature cannot benefit from invisibility or obscurement until the start of your next turn.
    That's pretty good, especially since there's no action cost, use limitation or check/save. Worth the level 18 spot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    Hidden Step
    13th level Ranger feature
    Starting at 13th level, you can move so swiftly and suddenly that you seem to shift positions in the blink of an eye. This is effectively a 10' teleport speed, but you cannot pass through solid objects this way.
    It's a neat and useful feature, but the Horizon Walker already does almost exactly the same thing level 11.

    Quote Originally Posted by Townopolis View Post
    Fell Harrier
    17th level Ranger feature
    Starting at 17th level, you are uncannily adept at herding your opponents out of advantageous positions and into traps. Whenever you hit with an attack, you can push your target 5' horizontally in a direction you choose.
    Seems pretty weak for the level you're getting it. Swarmkeeper gets basically the same thing once per turn with a save attached at level 3, and that can be used on yourself too. Rangers only typically get 2-3 attacks too, so it's not like the Warlock's 40' worth of push with Repelling Blast.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    I've increased the distance of Fell Harrier's push to 10'. This gives you 20-30' of multi-directional forced movement per turn to let you manipulate enemy positioning.

    ...

    Fell Harrier
    17th level Ranger feature
    Starting at 17th level, you are uncannily adept at herding your opponents out of advantageous positions and into traps. Whenever you hit with an attack, you can push your target 10' horizontally in a direction you choose.

    ...

    I'm going to have to think more about what I want to do with the level 13 OCF. This and Fell Harrier are meant to provide compelling reasons to stick with the class, but I still want to keep it simple and avoid stepping on too many toes.

    Regarding Vigil, are you saying that it's weaker than Vanish at this point, or just that it's weak overall?
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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    Perhaps not as weak as Vanish, although it is pretty damn weak so thats a low limbo bar to beat. It should be comparable or better than Natures Veil since that comes at 10 and also has significant combat and noncombat benefits.

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    Default Re: A low-magic Optional Class Feature to replace (almost) every Ranger feature [PEAC

    I'm going to step back from a level 14 replacer OCF. I've moved Fell Harrier to level 13, so you have more time to play with it before hitting the cap.

    Harrow is back as a level 17 extra ability. It's dead simple and basically just an average DPR upgrade for you/whomever focus-fires your target next, but you only get it for the last 4 levels. At that point, you should have most, if not all, of your tactics-defining features and be just accruing power. That last level of spells, or that last upgrade to superiority is enough of a shakeup at that point.
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