Is my Urban Ranger Class Archetype / Variant balanced?

(Homebrewery Link)

Design Considerations

I used various Reddit comments, the Pathfinder 1e Ranger Archetype, and the 3.5 UA Archetype as my guides for this class variant. The idea is to use the Alternate Class Features UA (maybe also in Tasha’s?) to flavor the Ranger without creating a class from scratch.

The Class Archetype / Features

Alternate Skills

Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth, and Survival (removed Nature from the stock list)

Alternate Spell List

The urban ranger’s spell list is different from the standard ranger list. The following spells are eliminated from the urban ranger’s spell list:

1st Level

Animal Friendship, Speak with Animals

2nd Level

Animal Messenger, Barkskin, Locate Animals or Plants, Spike Growth

3rd Level

Conjure Animals, Plant Growth, Speak with Plants, Water Walk

4th Level

Conjure Woodland Beings

5th Level

Commune with Nature, Tree Stride

In exchange, the urban ranger adds the following spells to their class list:

1st Level

Comprehend Languages, Message

2nd Level

Detect Thoughts, Hold Person, Knock, Invisibility

3rd Level

Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding,Speak with Dead, Tongues

4th Level

Greater Invisibility

5th Level

Hold Monster, Mislead

Recommended Alternate Class Features

Because of the multiple sources, I ended up with two options to replace Land’s Stride. It’s entirely possible that mixing them would be enough, but I didn’t want it to end up OP so I opted to give the player a choice.

  • City Explorer
  • Favored Enemy, Revised
  • Urban Awareness
  • Greater Favored Enemy, Revised
  • Favored Community
  • Push Through or Fleet of Foot
  • Blend In

Alternate Class Features

City Explorer

1st-level ranger feature (Replaces Natural Explorer)

You are a master of navigating the winding streets and alleyways of cities and towns, and you react with swift and decisive action when attacked. This grants you the following benefits when inside a town or city:

  • You ignore difficult terrain.
  • You have advantage on initiative rolls.
  • On your first turn during combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted.

In addition, you are skilled in urban navigation. You gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
  • Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
  • If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When you scrounge, forage, or dumpster-dive, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Favored Enemy, Revised (Urban)

1st-level ranger feature (Replaces Favored Enemy)

Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy commonly encountered in cities and towns.

Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.

Another alternative, with the DM’s approval, an urban ranger may select an organization instead of a creature type as his favored enemy. For example, a character might select a particular thieves’ guild, merchant house, or even the city guard. The favored enemy bonuses would apply to all members of the chosen organization, regardless of their creature type or subtype.

You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against creatures of the chosen type. Additionally, you have advantage on Intelligence (Inivestigation) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. Also, if the Alternate Ability Skills variant rule is being used, you have advantage on Charisma (Investigation) to gather information about your chosen enemy.

When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice, typically one spoken by your favored enemy or creatures associated with it. However, you are free to pick any language you wish to learn.

Urban Awareness

3rd-level ranger feature (Replaces Primeval Awareness)

Beginning at 3rd level, your mastery of ranger lore allows you to establish a powerful link to beasts and to the city around you.

You have an innate ability to communicate with beasts, and they recognize you as a kindred spirit. Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas to a beast as an action, and can read its basic mood and intent. You learn its emotional state, whether it is affected by magic of any sort, its short-term needs (such as food or safety), and actions you can take (if any) to persuade it to not attack.

You cannot use this ability against a creature that you have attacked within the past 10 minutes.

Additionally, you can attune your senses to determine if any of your favored enemies lurk nearby. By spending 1 uninterrupted minute in concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell), you can sense whether any of your favored enemies are present within 5 miles of you, or within city limits, whichever is smaller. This feature reveals which of your favored enemies are present, their numbers, and the creatures’ general direction and distance (in miles) from you.

If there are multiple groups of your favored enemies within range, you learn this information for each group.

Greater Favored Enemy, Revised (Urban)

6th-level ranger feature (Replaces Favored Enemy improvement)

At 6th level, you are ready to hunt even deadlier game. Choose a second type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two more races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies, or an organization with the DM’S approval. You gain all the benefits against this chosen enemy that you normally gain against your favored enemy, including an additional language. Your bonus to damage rolls against all your favored enemies increases to +4.

Additionally, you have advantage on saving throws against the spells and abilities used by a greater favored enemy.

Favored Community

6th-level ranger reature (Replaces Natural Explorer improvement)

At 6th level, the urban ranger forms a bond with a community. This grants you the following benefits when inside this favored community:

  • You gain a +2 on initiative rolls
  • You have advantage on Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks.

An urban ranger traveling through his favored community leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (although he may leave a trail if he so desires).

For the purposes of this ability, a community is any settlement consisting of 100 or more individuals. The community may be larger than this minimum. Outlying farms, fields, and houses are not considered part of a community.

This feature may be taken again at 10th level, replacing the Natural Explorer improvement, to select another favored community.

Fleet of Foot

8th-level ranger feature (Replaces Land’s Stride)

Beginning at 8th level, you can use the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn.

Push Through

8th-level ranger feature (Replaces Land’s Stride)

Starting at 8th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. In addition, you can move through the space occupied by local citizens as if they were allies. This does not apply to creatures intent on harming you. Areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect you.

In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the entangle spell.

Blend In

10th-level ranger feature (Replaces Natural Explorer improvement)

At 10th level, you can cast Disguise Self as a bonus action, when inside your favored community. In addition to this, when a creature uses its action to discern that you are disguised, it must succeed on an Intelligence (Investigation) against your Dexterity (Stealth) roll instead of your spell save DC.

This does not expend a spell slot, but you cannot use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.

Ranger Natural Explorer

The rule in the PHB states : (emphasis mine)

While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:

The way I read this and how it should be played RAW

When a party with a ranger in his favored terrain starts travelling, the first hour of travel the feature is not active and will activate only starting at the 2nd hour of travel ? So they could become lost during the first hour of travel if the navigator fails a survival check. If they stop travelling for some reason, then they need to again make surival checks for the first hour and then Natural Explorer will quick-in again at the 2nd hour.

Is that correct (as per RAW playing mode) ?

NOTE: We are not playing with UA rules.

Are Gloom Stalker Rangers better than the normal ranger subtypes that appear in the players handbook?

I am joining a campaign with some friends and they suggested that I should play a Gloom Stalker Ranger. I rarely get a chance to use things from anything other than the players handbook so I want to try something new. I want to know if it’s even worth playing a gloom stalker and still contribute to the party with both damage and role-playing capabilities because currently my friends are playing rogues and I want to fit the setting (which is a thieves guild type setting) and still do a good amount of damage to help balance out the party.

Is this magic ranger amulet balanced?

Item description

The following item was made with a 5th level ranger in mind. The goal was to create an item that is mechanically fitting, and combat-relevant but not a weapon or armor.

Amulet of the Predator

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

While wearing this amulet, you gain a +5 bonus to initiative rolls. Whenever you take the attack action on a first round of combat, you can make an additional attack with the same weapon.

Related discussions on magic items Weapon that allows an extra attack (as bonus action) every turn: Which rarity level is appropriate for this nerfed Scimitar of Speed with no bonus to attack and damage rolls?

Discussion of Sentinel Shield which gives improved initiative rolls: How powerful is a Sentinel Shield really?

As an alternative, I thought about adding proficiency instead of flat +5. There are features in the game that do similar things, although it seems, no official feature does exactly this. See the following question. Is There A Non-Homebrew Way To Add Proficiency to Initiative?

Question Is this item completely unbalanced or abusable? Is it wildly inappropriate for level 5 / as uncommon item? If either variant (+5/+proficiency) is a lot more powerful than the other one, I’d be interested in the reasoning as well.

How do paladin and ranger class levels add up for multiclass spellcasting?

From page 164 of the PHB (here is the equivalent section of the Basic Rules):

Spell Slots. You determine your available spell slots by adding together all your levels in the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard classes, half your levels (rounded down) in the paladin and ranger classes, and a third of your fighter or rogue levels (rounded down) if you have the Eldritch Knight or the Arcane Trickster feature. Use this total to determine your spell slots by consulting the Multiclass Spellcaster table.

If I have a level 3 ranger and multiclass into paladin, how are my available spell slots calculated?

  • (ranger/2, rounded down) plus (paladin/2, rounded down)
  • (ranger + paladin)/2, rounded down

Which one is it?

Is there a way (other than using a wish spell) for a Wizard to cast Ranger spells?

Using a wish spell you can duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower.

However..

That’s a pretty high lv spell for gaining the use of a 1-5 level Ranger spell. I couldn’t find a version of limited wish. And the feat Magic Initiate doesn’t seem to apply to Ranger’s spells.

Is there another way to cast 1 or 2 Ranger spells without dipping into the Ranger class? Specifically I am looking at Conjure Barrage and Swift Quiver. Mostly because I think it would be cool to launch a ton of darts like a Naruto style Ninja…and it would be unexpected from my wizard.

Worth noting we only use the hardcover books. No UA or 3rd party stuff please.

Can I build my level 6 Ranger so that his bow shots never miss? [closed]

Is it possible for me to make my Human ranger like Hawkeye, to where (1) I never miss and (2) I can use my Sharpshooter ability every shot. I’m currently a level 6 ranger.

I want it so that the only reason for rolling the d20 is to see if my bow breaks.

My DM doesn’t have any other punishments when I roll a 1, so when I roll a 1 my bow can break.

Would these adjustments to the ranger archetype Beast Master help the animal companion be more useful?

I recently playtested a Beast Master ranger from level 1 to level 20 (I was playtesting a new homebrew archetype, which was my primary reason for doing so; the Beast Master ranger was just one of the other party members), but there were a few things I noticed regarding the relative power of the beast companion itself. For reference, the beast I went with was a wolf, which is probably a fairly standard choice.

Issues

Now, I know that Beast Master rangers are infamously weak, but I still wanted to see if I could try to improve what I felt were some of its weakest points during my playtesting. I was already using the popular houserule of letting the ranger tell the beast to attack using a bonus action instead of an action, but the other things that bothered me were:

  • Relatively low HP (as the first linked Q&A points out), although this was more of a problem during Tier 1/2, less so during Tier 3/4, at least during my playtesting;
  • Hardly any hit die, which is related to the above problem, since I remember having to spend a lot of healing resources to keep bringing the wolf’s health back up to full/close to full;
  • The DC for resisting the knocked prone secondary effect from the wolf’s Bite attack remains pathetically low at DC 11 for the whole game.
  • The lack of any saving throw proficiencies really screwed the wolf over during the big finale where it died to a meteor swarm, but with a decent DEX saving throw bonus, it would probably have made it.
  • I was sometimes hesitant to use the wolf, because it was dropped to 0 HP a few times at lower levels, unless I knew it would probably land the killing blow or could avoid an opportunity attack or otherwise being hit.

I will point out that at higher levels, the AC was fairly decent (for a wolf), and the HP wasn’t as bad as it was at earlier levels, and I was impressed with the damage output thanks to attack rolls and damage scaling with the ranger’s proficiency bonus. Its Stealth and Perception skill bonuses were also impressive. These things I don’t feel the need to change.

Changes

Here are the changes I propose, somewhat inspired by the UA Sidekick rules:

  • You get a new hit die whenever you take another level in ranger, so at level 3 your wolf starts off with two hit die, but at level 4 they would have three hit die … by level 20 they have 19 hit die. I doubt this would make their max HP better than four times the ranger level, so it would only really be for the purposes of short resting.

  • To improve the max HP a little, maybe something as simple as adding the beast’s CON modifier to that, so it’s now:

    \begin{align} \text{ (ranger level + beasts’s CON modifier)} \times 4 \end{align}

    This way, the animal’s toughness is also taken into an account; I feel like the wolf having 5 instead of 4 more HP each level would have been just enough to help, combined with more hie die to heal, but also from a flavour perspective, I feel like choosing a boar should end up tougher than a hawk, whereas RAW, they would both have the same HP. I would however, keep the minimum HP gained per level to 4, in case the beast somehow has a negative CON modifier, since I think taking HP away from the beast would be cruel, given how underpowered this whole archetype is.

  • Any DCs it has, such as the wolf’s ability to knock people prone, should scale with your proficiency bonus, like this AC and attack/damage rolls do, so rather than a measly 11, at level 3-4 it would be 13, and at level 5, it would be 14 … ending up at 18 at level 17+.

  • Unless it already has a "physical" saving throw proficiency (meaning STR, DEX or CON), it gains one of your choice at level 3, which of course would just mean a +2 (because that’s every valid animal companions’s proficiency bonus) but that also has your proficiency bonus added to it, like AC, etc. This would have certainly helped when it was hit by meteor swarm during our final level 20 showdown, it might have actually survived (even with its RAW hit points) had it made that DEX saving throw.

  • Finally, since I’m letting the beast be commanded as a bonus action, the first half of the 7th level ranger feature Exceptional Training is kinda wasted, so I was considering changing that to not only make the beast’s attacks magical, but also to effectively give the beast a rogue’s Cunning Action, which it can use if you command it to using the same bonus action you used to command it to attack (or do something else with its action). In short, you use one bonus action to tell it what to do with its turn, and it can now effectively use its action and bonus action to do something useful.

Question

Do the above changes seem reasonable, and do you foresee any balance issues coming from my proposed changes? My intention is for the Beast Master’s beast in particular to become more useful and survivable, without increasing its damage output (since I was happy with that), but not making it more powerful than I intended by overlooking something. I suppose also double checking whether there’s a problem with making some animals tougher than others based on their CON; does this unfairly favour tougher animals to the point where that’s a balance issue in and of itself?