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I love the idea of the Ranger as a "monster hunter"! I even think it is a great idea to attach the benefit behind a skill check, even if it is a critical success at lower levels. But the benefit if you succeed doesn't measure up to the cost of a feat. A +1 on your attack roll, after which the target is bolstered makes this pointless. Why would a Ranger, after quickly studying a target gain insight into how to fight it for 4 seconds... and then forget that insight? Especially when you compare it to something like the Bard's first level composition "Inspire Courage" which gives a +1 to attack and damage and can be cast every round... Monster Hunter is a great idea but woefully under powered for the cost.
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My issue with this feat is that it is of limited value and it conflicts with how the Ranger's other abilities are being implemented.
1) It costs potentially TWO actions to use Monster Hunter because it requires a Recall K. check and the Target has to have already had Hunt Target applied. This is a major handicap which I'll address later;
2) The Ranger doesn't get any special bonus to identify the creature. This means that unless the creature is Nature. The chance that you will get a critical success is about 5%, observe:
DC to identify a lvl 0 monster Common monster is 10. A level 1 Common monster DC is 12. If you need to Recall K (Society, Occult, Arcana, Religion) with a skill for which the Ranger is Untrained, the only way you can critically succeed is to roll a natural 20. If the creature is Recall K (Nature), assuming you've got a 14 Wisdom, you'll need to roll 17 against a 0 level creature and a 19 against a level 1 creature Any creature higher than your PC level, regardless of Skill, you need a natural 20. Let me repeat that. For Monster Hunter to convey any benefit against any creature higher level than your PC level, regardless of Skill, you'll need a natural 20.
I used this during my playtest of the PFS lvl 1 playtest scenario and didn't even come close to having it trigger;
4) Worse, If, you raise your INT and try and get Trained in the other Recall skills, all those efforts are invalided because at level 10, you can use Nature for all of them.
5) Following up from #1, the fact that Recall K. uses an action and you have to have a designated target (which also requires a move action) means that after your HT dies, in order for you to get this benefit on something else, you've got to sacrifice two actions - Hunt Target, Recall Knowledge. This precludes the Ranger from getting any benefit from HT as he/she switches targets, because there is no opportunity for a second attack.
In actual game play, at least at level 1, Targets would generally die before I could use HT, RK, and then get a benefit from HT, especially at low levels where NPCs often died from one or two hits from a Power Attacking Fighter.
My proposed fix for Monster Hunter( MH)
AT LEVEL 1 -
1) MH needs to work on a Success. A critical success (which is rarely going to happen) means you get the bonus for two rounds.
2) MH needs to give a allow a Ranger to use Nature for all MH checks.
3) MH needs to be usable if the Ranger successfully finds tracks. Ranger gets to then make a RK check against the tracked creature.
4) The Ranger should be able to make MH checks against all creatures present, but MH bonus only applies upon being designated as the Hunt Target. The reason for this is that otherwise, the Ranger is penalized for using Recall K. against anything except the thing he is hunting. Now, maybe that's a desired outcome, forces the Ranger to focus on one foe at time, but that seems contrary to the notion of the Ranger being Perceptive.
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My apologies: I just noticed the previous posts were for the playtest rules. A few things have changed since then.However, there are still a few things in the final current rules that need tweaking here, so my response below still applies to them.
I agree with several of your points, though there are a few mistakes I spotted and clarified (please see my "Correction:" entry below).
Even with the corrections, though, this feat does not seem worth taking, especially at lower levels when it's hard to get the required critical success on the Recall Knowledge check.
I agree that the Recall Knowledge check should require a normal success vs. a critical success, or at least give the ranger a +2 bonus or something on this check because the chances of getting a critical success on this are too small to make the feat worth taking.
I play a level 1 ranger archer with the Monster Hunter feat, Trained in Nature with a 14 Wisdom, so he has a +5 bonus, and it was disappointing. The GM set the Recall Knowledge Nature DC at 13 vs. 4 troll opponents and this meant rolling an 18-20 on the dice to _critically succeed_(a 15% chance), which never happened.
It costs potentially TWO actions to use Monster Hunter because it requires a Recall K. check and the Target has to have already had Hunt Target applied.
Correction: It only costs one action, per the rules: "_As part of the action used to Hunt your Prey_, you can attempt a check to Recall Knowledge about your prey." So it's one action to use Hunt Prey to designate your prey target and also to make the Recall Knowledge check at the same time to try to get the critical success for a +1 bonus to hit. Normally, the Recall Knowledge skill check requires its own action, but when used with the Monster Hunter feat it doesn't.