Fixing the Beast Master Ranger by interpreting the rules differently (perhaps?)

4th Edition

Beast masters are not very good, they have to spend their action to get their beast companion to do anything other than wandering around the battlefield and watching, they don't even automatically take the dodge action. As long as you don't tell them what to do they just take everything an enemy might throw at them. And if that weren't enough the companion doesn't even get to use their full attack power if it has multiattack and doesn't get the extra damage from Hunter's Mark

What if we take the beast companion rules though and read them a little differently?

It explicitly says the companion does nothing unless you order it to take the attack, dash, dodge or disengage action.

What if we simply assume the beast will continue executing the command it got until the conditions are no longer met. That is to say, it's target is dead/disabled, it has reached the point it needed to go, it is no longer under threat of attack or within the melee range of an enemy.

This is not supposed to be a discussion about the RAW and/or RAI, simply an idea to make the Beast Master archetype a more viable/attractive choice, without having to actually write homebrew rules, by simply reading into the rules a little bit.

Similarly you could interpret spells like specifically Hunter's Mark in such a way that the beast companion being your class feature is effectively a part of "you" for spells that benefit "you" without "you" being the spell's target. Because you deal the damage when your class feature hits. (Perhaps more of a stretch, since the ability to share spells implies the beast is not affected by spells that target you unless you want it to, but certainly helps the archetype's case)

What do you all think, would this be a helpful addition to improve the archetype or would it break the action economy, or still not make the beast master a good choice?

No opinions?

The beast master, as far as damage output goes, is on par with the other martial classes as written. So as far as DPR goes, the class isn't weak.

The problem with the class is entirely on the feel of the class, as you so eloquently put. Let's separate these two concepts to give a better idea of where the issues lie.

By allowing the beast to continue making the same action it was last ordered to take, this will increase the action economy of the BM, and give the BM more sustained DPR than any other class (but not more nova damage).

I'll try to come up with a damage analysis a bit later to show the numbers.

With that said, however, this fix could really work for some players if you don't care about the skewed damage, and it might even make it on par with GWM/PAM (I'll have to check). Of course, then you're looking at two feats compared to no feats. If you want it to work out this way, I'd recommend not doing it in a game with other martial classes. When the BM is your primary martial class (i.e. Your other PCs are casters), it'll work out rather well.

So you're saying it would make the output of the Beast Master too strong. I would rather have all the martial classes allowed in my games. I'D be interested in the numbers here.

Yeah, the Tome Show had an episode where they were arguing (in a way that convinced me) that the original beast master wasn't weak at all. If you get blood hawk or one of the snakes and maybe there was some wolf that worked too.

2097 wrote:
Yeah, the Tome Show had an episode where they were arguing (in a way that convinced me) that the original beast master wasn't weak at all. If you get blood hawk or one of the snakes and maybe there was some wolf that worked too.

okay but that just shifts the problem. What about people who want a giant badger, panther or really anything else

Sorry; I haven't gotten to it yet. Ended up being busy at work and then when I got home I worked on another project.

Kryx just updated his DPR document to include the Beastmaster wth TWF style.

This can give us a baseline. From there, we have to compare the house rules.

By without the numbers, let's just look at the concept.

Normal: BM or Animal attacks once per round or uses one action per round. At level 5, BM or animal uses one action per round or two attacks per round (2 from BM or one each). Other types of actions still take one action.

Compared to other martial classes: one attack or other action per round, until level 5; two attacks per round.

Houserule presented here: BM or Animal get one attack in round 1. From there on, they get two attacks per round (one from BM one from animal). At level 5, they get three attacks per round.

We've created a scenario where the BM as a class/archetype gets more attacks per round than the other martial classes AND they still get battlefield dominance by being in two places at once.

I'll see if I can get the math done today.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

A lot of classes can get circumstantial 3 (or more!) attacks per round (not counting two-weapon fighting):

Reckless Barbarian
Bard of Valor with haste (learned at 10th, so iffy)
Druids in some wildshape forms, right?
Fighters using Action Surge or not after 11th level (6 or 7 then!)
Monk using Ki Flurry (actually 4/round after 5th level)
Warlocks using eldritch blast after 11th level.

Sovereign Court

Here is my thought... could we consider either making the ranger or his beast's attack a bonus action? Suppose you look at the beast master as a character option on par with dual wielding.

Now you make one of those attacks weaker, as with dual wielding, by not applying the attribute bonus to damage. Now you can have both attacks, you employ the bonus action economic principles, and the class stays balanced. And then it can progress with action economy in the same way without changing any of the progression or problems with action economy.

It would probably be better to null out the ranger's attribute bonus to damage, considering the variance in beast attack types and what not (since you can't account for poison, higher damage dice, beasts that don't get a significant damage bonus from attributes, or what have you).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, I think letting the ranger use his action to direct the Animal Companion and his bonus action to make a single melee or ranged attack would work.

Ok, I'm going to sit down and get this done.

Give me a ranger build and an animal.

I want:

Weapon of choice + appropriate feats if they involve bonus actions
Animal of choice

To hit and damage for each

I want these at levels 3, 5, 7, and 11.

I'll produce some back of the envelope calculations for the following:
Normal rules
Bonus action command (Costs you a bonus action to command the beast)
Attack action command (you can use the attack action and sacrifice an attack to command the beast)
One command and free continuing
Free command

Sovereign Court

I'm not ignoring you, I just have to find time, but I do intend to present some builds.

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