Does the Ranger’s Favoured Foe Ability from Tasha’s work with Cantrips?

So I have an idea for a wisdom based Horizon walker. I was thinking of taking shillelagh and produce flame from the druidic warrior fighting style. Produce flame is purely so I at least have ONE ranged option when it is necessary but I would primarily be a melee fighter. I know hunter’s mark works with only weapon attacks but I noticed that the description of favoured foe only states "when you hit with an attack roll", not with a "weapon attack."

So my question is just would produce flame be able to benefit from and apply the damage from favoured foe?

Thanks!

Giant Insect and Ranger’s Companion

In the Players Handbook I noticed Giant Insect spell. Everything is clear with text, although the non-standardized wording is a little embarrassing. However, I was interested in the presence of Spider and Scorpion in arthropods list (I will further mention only the Scorpion), since they can be Beastmaster’s pets. It looks like interesting function, but in this case intersect two very unique override texts (Giant Insect spell and Ranger’s Companion skill), from which many questions arise.

Giant Insect

[…]

You transform up to ten centipedes, three spiders, five wasps, or one scorpion within range into giant versions of their natural forms for the duration. A centipede becomes a giant centipede, a spider becomes a giant spider, a wasp becomes a giant wasp, and a scorpion becomes a giant scorpion. Each creature obeys your verbal commands, and in combat, they act on your turn each round. The GM has the statistics for these creatures and resolves their actions and movement. A creature remains in its giant size for the duration, until it drops to 0 hit points, or until you use an action to dismiss the effect on it. The GM might allow you to choose different targets. For example, if you transform a bee, its giant version might have the same statistics as a giant wasp.

Ranger’s Companion

At 3rd level, you gain a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and is trained to fight alongside you. Choose a beast that is no larger than Medium and that has a challenge rating of 1/4 or lower (appendix D presents statistics for the hawk, mastiff, and panther as examples). Add your proficiency bonus to the beast’s AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills it is proficient in. Its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or four times your ranger level, whichever is higher. Like any creature, the beast can spend Hit Dice during a short rest.
The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help action. If you don’t issue a command, the beast takes the Dodge action. Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack action. While traveling through your favored terrain with only the beast, you can move stealthily at a normal pace. […]

  1. Im correct that the transorm form isn’t "true form" of creature, and the Giant Scorpion still remains Ranger’s Companion with all the bonuses? In fact, the Scorpion only has replaced Statistics and all other buffs/effects remain?
  2. In Giant Insect lacks typical text, unlike other similar "transform" spells:
    The target assumes the Hit Points of its new form. When it reverts to its normal form, the creature returns to the number of Hit Points it had before it transformed. If it reverts as a result of Dropping to 0 Hit Points, any excess damage carries over to its normal form.
    In this case, do I understand correctly that for this transformation all these points are invalid? I’m only confused by the beginning, because then the Giant Scorpion gets Hit Poins of common Scorpion, or this part of the text implied in "The GM has the statistics for these creatures…"?
  3. Ranger’s Companion text and the Giant Insect text contain a unique override rules of acting. These rules are override or mashup with each other? In case of override, then Giant Insect begins to follow the rules of the Ranger’s Companion, or vice verse?
    Correct my interpretation if I’m wrong. Rules do not contradict each other, and hence mash up. The companion gains the same initiative as the player (Ranger’s Companion), but acts on the player’s turn (Giant Insect). Both the spell and the companion rules allow me to control the Giant Scorpion, but in case of spell the commands could be interpreted by GM, and now GM’s jurisdiction is limited to the need to accurately execute my commands. However, now the Giant Scorpion can not perform any actions except Dodge if I don’t order command with my action.
  4. The question is purely formal. Logic suggests that the word act is explained here:
    ...and resolves their actions and movement
    But the term itself is very confusing. I do understand correctly that the word "act" in context means "actions", "bonus actions" and "move" together? Or this term completely free for DM interpretations?
  5. Additional question. If we agree that act is all activity and that interpretation in the third paragraph is correct, what happens if we mounted Giant Scorpion as independent mount? I understand correctly that the Giant Scorpion turn separately from us, gets its turn with our Initiative, but will act on our turn? Im correct that in this way we get a "controlled" mount in fact (Actually independent, but which moves on our turn according to our commands), which will not be limited in actions among other things (Only by the rules of the companion, and if they are not there, then any actions are available)?

When I cast Simulacrum to make a copy of a creature with a feature like Rangers Companion, do I get a free animal companion to go with it?

The Simulacrum spell contains an interesting clause.

It appears to be the same as the original, but it has half the creature’s hit point maximum and is formed without any Equipment. Otherwise, the Illusion uses all the Statistics of the creature it duplicates.

Since the Companion feature is part of a creatures statistics, this means that it should get duplicated, I think. So if I were to duplicate a creature that has a feature like Rangers Companion (or something similar), does the animal companion automatically come with it?

Related questions that would have an answer based on the answer to the primary question:

  • If we don’t get a free companion, can the simulacra bond with a new one?

  • If we do get one, would it also be an illusion, or is it a real flesh-and-blood creature?

  • If the Simulacra dies, does the companion instantly die as well?

  • If the companion dies, can the Simulacra bond with a new companion?

How much does this Favored Foe tweak for the Ranger’s class feature from TCoE buffs the Rangers when compared to other martial classes?


I want to tweak the Favored Foe optional class feature for the Ranger from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

I’m fairly disappointed with the Favored Foe optional class feature for the Rangers released in TCoE, it’s essentially just a worse Hunter’s Mark. This feature allows more versatility with your Foe Slayer feature at level 20, but it also locks your concentration. Since it’s a worse Hunter’s Mark, Favored Foe will probably see less use until you get Foe Slayer (and how many games reach level 20?). The only saving grace to this feature is the improved action economy. Two weapon fighting or crossbow expert Rangers might see some use out of this.

While the UA version is definitely better in terms of damage, I’d have to agree with this Reddit post that says that the UA version incentivizes 1 level dip to the Ranger class, but doesn’t incentivize more levels in Ranger. User u/ZatherDaFox added "One of the ranger’s biggest issues has always been a lack of really cool mid and late game abilities to justify taking the class that high."

Now, I’m trying to come up with a solution after Favored Foe was officially published in Tasha’s Caudron of Everything. tl;dr, here’s the changelog:

  • Renamed it to Hunter’s Mark
  • If you take this optional class feature, it replaces your Favored Enemy class feature and removes the Hunter’s Mark spell from this Ranger’s spell list
  • The damage still scales exactly the same as TCoE’s Favored Foe, but now it applies to every attack that hits (even spell attacks)
  • Added the advantage to track and find it bit from the Hunter’s Mark spell
  • Duration is 1 hour, following the Hunter’s Mark spell
  • Number of uses equal to proficiency bonus per short or long rest
  • At level 11, it no longer requires concentration

Hunter’s Mark

1st-level ranger feature, which replaces the Favored Enemy feature and works with the Foe Slayer feature. Furthermore, Hunter’s Mark is removed from your spell list.

When you hit a creature with an attack roll, you can call on your mystical bond with nature to mark the target as your favored enemy for 1 hour or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). Until your concentration ends, you deal an extra 1d4 damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack, and you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check you make to find it.
    You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a short or long rest. This feature’s extra damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d6 at 6th level and to 1d8 at 14th level. Furthermore, once you have reached 11th level in this class, this feature no longer requires concentration.

What this aims to fix:

As stated before, I want people to want to play the Ranger class and experience them at higher levels, not just as one level dips. I play a Ranger in my homebrew campaign, but I use the Revised Ranger UA version because the PHB just seems very DM-/campaign-dependent and, to me at least, is poorly designed compared to the other classes. Tasha’s has introduced a lot of new optional class features for the Ranger that I’m eternally grateful for (I’ll literally never take the PHB Natural Explorer ever again). So it sucks to see that one of them just barely misses the mark (get it? Hahah).

The changes don’t really alter the playstyle of the Ranger prior to level 11, I think. I set the uses at PB per short or long rest since this Hunter’s Mark can’t jump between targets when you reduce one to 0 hit points. And every Rangers still need to contemplate the usual "do I drop my Hunter’s Mark now and try something different, or should I stick with it?" This has always been a problem with me in my campaign, and in its current state I do plan on multiclassing into Rogue very soon, since I don’t think I can utilize many spells because my Wisdom is not that high. I know that sounds more like a me thing but Wisdom is not generally the Ranger’s main ability score either, so it’s usually lower than their Dexterity, de-incentivizing creative uses of spells with a saving throw or a to-hit.

This changes in level 11, though. This Ranger’s Hunter’s Mark now no longer requires concentration. I read somewhere (can’t find it anymore) that advised people who wants to homebrew stuff to stay away from altering the concentration mechanic in D&D 5e, among other things (action economy was also mentioned). I removed the concentration at level 11 because it’s entering a new tier of play, so I think it’s a fitting jump in terms of prowess for this class. Also, since it no longer requires concentration at this level, Rangers can now try more experiments with their spells! It removes one decision point in combat for the Ranger, which I think is a good thing.

The Ranger’s current level 11 class feature is tied to their subclass, so this adds another oomph to those as well. But, I am also deathly afraid that messing with concentration like this is going to overpower the Ranger when compared to the other martial classes. My biggest argument is that the Paladin gets Improved Divine Smite also at 11th level, which is very similar to this Hunter’s Mark since it a straight damage buff.

tl;dr, the question: do these changes for Favored Foe, now renamed Hunter’s Mark, significantly buffs the Rangers, to the point of overpowered when compared to the other martial classes?

Does the Hunter Ranger’s Giant Killer allow you to grapple or shove with the reaction?

The Hunter Ranger’s Giant Killer feature says:

When a Large or larger creature within 5 feet of you hits or misses you with an attack, you can use your reaction to attack that creature immediately after its attack, provided that you can see the creature.

Since it says "you can use your reaction to attack that creature" without specifying that it has to be a melee weapon attack, could you instead use "special melee attacks" like grapples or shoves for this reaction?

Does the Ranger’s Companion synergize with the Ranger?

The Ranger Beast Master subclass gets an animal companion under the ranger companion ability, which for free can move about the battle field, or using the Ranger’s action can make an attack. Being a cr 1/4 creature, that attack is generally worse than the attack the ranger has by the time he gets the companion.

If the ranger was multiclassed a rogue, I could see the use of the companion moving about to be adjacent to enemies, but I’m not seeing what synergizes well without multiclassing.

Am I missing something, or should I tell my friend that his assessment is correct, and he should only choose the beast master if he wishes the fun of his animal companion but that the creature itself will not actually synergize very well with his class abilities?

I prefer a rules as written answer.

How to order Ranger’s beast to attack with TCoE?

In the PHB there is the Ranger subclass "Beast Master" which gives the opportunity to have a beast companion, which obey all orders from the Ranger. The beast attacks only if the ranger gives that command in his/her action.

But in TCoE there is a phrase for the beast, which says:

"It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take another action. That action can be one in its stat block or some other action. You can also sacrifice one of your attacks when you take the Attack action to command the beast to take the Attack action."

It means that the ranger may use his/her bonus action also to command the beast to attack. Which as I understand doesn’t exclude the option of the original PHB defined one. Am I right, or I missunderstood this? Please can someone clarify me how can a ranger command his/her beast to attack targets with the TCoE variant?

Is it possible to use the Hunter ranger’s Volley ability with the Hail of Thorns spell?

The Volley option for the Hunter ranger’s 11th-level Multiattack feature says:

You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon’s range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.

The hail of thorns spell description (PHB, p. 249) says:

The next time you hit a creature with a ranged weapon attack before the spell ends, this spell creates a rain of thorns that sprouts from your ranged weapon or ammunition. In addition to the normal effect of the attack, the target of the attack and each creature within 5 feet of it must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 1d10 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Is it possible to use Volley with hail of thorns?

I believe that when the character hits the first creature with Volley, hail of thorns is triggered.

How does the Hunter ranger’s Horde Breaker feature interact with the Mounted Combatant feat’s ability to redirect an attack to the rider?

Roger is a Hunter ranger that has chosen the Horde Breaker option for the Hunter’s Prey class feature (Player’s Handbook, p. 93):

Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of your weapon.

Roger fires an arrow at Michael, a creature with the Mounted Combatant feat who is currently astride a horse. Roger then uses the Horde Breaker feature to fire a second arrow at Michael’s mount. Michael uses the second bullet point of the Mounted Combatant feat (Player’s Handbook, p. 168) to change the target of Roger’s attack:

You can force an attack targeted at your mount to target you instead.

Does Michael get targeted by two attacks? Or is the second attack no longer permitted, because Michael is not a valid target for Roger’s Horde Breaker attack?

Must a Ranger’s spellcasting focus be druidic, or can it be arcane (or even holy)?

This question was inspired by the question about what constitutes a bardic spellcasting focus. It has been somewhat overcome by Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (p. 57) which explicitly describes a Ranger’s Spell focus as a druidic focus, but since not all tables will use that optional rule the question will remain up.

A Ranger’s spellcasting ability is described thusly:

By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of nature to cast spells, much as a druid does.

As discussed here, a Ranger meets the definition of a spellcaster in that a class feature, not an item, grants the character the ability to cast spells. While that would support a Ranger using a spellcasting focus, only three spellcasting foci get explicit treatment in the rules (unless I missed a spot).

  • A Holy Symbol (Basic Rules p. 48.)
  • A Druidic Focus (Basic Rules p. 48.)
  • An Arcane Focus (Basic Rules p. 47.)

Aside: I may be making a leap. The text on druidic focus does not mention Rangers. The leap is based on the Ranger class spellcasting feature being explicitly tied to druidic spellcasting in the brief text covering that class feature.

  • Spellcasting Focus:

You can use a druidic focus (see “Equipment as a spellcasting focus for your druid spells).

  • Druidic Focus.

A druidic focus might be a sprig of mistletoe or holly, a wand or scepter made of yew or another special wood, a staff drawn whole out of a living tree, or a totem object incorporating feathers, fur, bones, and teeth from sacred animals. A druid can use such an object as a spellcasting focus.

In a case of specific over general, Paladins and Clerics are called out as being able to use a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus (Rangers were left out). This left me with two questions, only one of which is germane to the Ranger2. The Ranger gets no specific call out (unlike the Paladin) on whether the character can use for a spellcasting focus a holy symbol, a druidic focus, or an arcane focus. (Since the Ranger is a spellcaster, there’s got to be something that the class can use to substitute for material components, right?)

Why would this matter?

A lot of Ranger spells have material components. Just reviewing the SRD (which isn’t the whole list) the following spells calling out "V,S,M" in the components line:
Level 1
Alarm, Animal Friendship, Detect poison and disease, Goodberry, Jump, Longstrider
Level 2
Animal Messenger, Barkskin, Darkvision, Locate Animals or Plants, Locate Object, Pass without a trace, Spike Growth
Level 3
Nondetection, Water Breathing, Water Walk, Wind Wall
Level 4
Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement, Locate Creature, Stoneskin
Level 5
Commune with Nature

The adventuring Ranger won’t always be in a "home" environment

Considering that terrain types generally coincide with Druid Circles …

Arctic, Coast, Desert, Forest, Grassland, Mountain, Swamp (I’d call seaborne adventure close enough to Coast for these purposes)

… it might be impossible to find mistletoe in the desert when a material component is needed.

Question restated

Can the Ranger use an arcane focus or a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus, or is the ranger constrained to the druidic focus (a holly symbol1?) based on the class’ spell casting feature being heavily druidic in nature1?


1 Please excuse the puns. Sometimes we can’t help ourselves.
2 I leave the idea of druids being priest of nature (mostly gotten around with Nature Domain clerics) for another question regarding a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus for a druid.