Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Beast Master Ranger House Rules

Beast Master Ranger House Rules
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the beast master ranger is poorly designed. In 5e D&D the ranger’s beast is most often seen as a liability rather than a fun constellation of mechanics and theme; choosing the beast master over the other ranger archetypes feels like intentionally choosing style over substance.

The recent errata for 5e D&D went a little ways toward making the beast master ranger a more viable and attractive choice, but I don’t think those small fixes and clarifications go nearly far enough. In my games, I implement the following for any player who might be interested in playing a beast master:

  • Real talk: I will rarely target your animal companion in combat. I will also mostly forget to include your animal companion in area effect damage.
  • When it comes to choosing the kind of animal companion you can have, be aware that re-skinning is an option on the table. If you want a bear companion, we can probably find some stats to use that fulfill the beast master’s requirements for an animal companion.
  • If your beast dies, you can resurrect it over a long rest. Actually, I’d probably let you bring your companion back over a short rest if you ask nicely.
  • When you gain your beast companion we’ll assign it saving throw proficiencies that make sense for the kind of beast it is.
  • We’ll also assign your beast companion some skills. Up to four.
  • Every time you gain a ranger level your beast companion gains an additional hit die and the corresponding hit points.
  • At every level that you gain an Ability Score Increase your beast companion also gains an Ability Score Increase. Note that these Ability Score Increases may affect things such as attack bonuses, hit points, and saving throw DCs.
  • You and your beast understand each other. For example, if you send your beast to scout ahead it can relay information to you upon its return without you having to magic the information out of it.
  • I treat your beast companion as an extension of your ranger character. For example, if you cast hunter’s mark on a foe your beast companion’s attacks benefit from the additional damage provided by the spell.
  • Similarly, your beast companion can benefit from your Hide in Plain Sight, Vanish, Feral Senses, and Foe Slayer abilities.
  • If you command your beast to attack and you’re wielding two-weapons you can make one off-hand attack as part of this action—your beast’s attack counts as the primary attack, your attack counts as the secondary attack.


  1. Does it seem like someone wrote this class without ever playtesting it?

    1. I would say that it was designed by someone who didn't understand what people would actually want out of it.

  2. These ideas all seem so reasonable that I'm almost afraid to go read what the actual current rules for Beastmasters are.