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I have a player who wants to play a ranger. This is cool, I like the UA Revised Ranger rules, especially since he wants to be a Beastmaster. So, of course, this means rather than using a bonus action to attack his companion gets it's own initiative and action.

I also use a subset of rules from the Dawnforged 5e Homebrew rules. They have a change to the Beastmaster rules as well that I kind of like:

Menagerie

At 5th level, and every 4 levels after that, you can acquire an additional animal companion. These companions work like the first. However, when you use an Attack action to command your companion to attack, only one companion, per attack, may act.

The most obvious result, if I were to use these two together, is just that all his animals could attack in a round. However, I am wondering how this will affect combat encounters. I know it will affect the flow because he will have to roll for so many animals as he levels up, but I'm not sure how else.

So, my exact question is this: How much does adding in another animal companion that can act on its own affect the outcome of a battle?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do all of these additional animal companions benefit from the Revised Ranger's Companion's Bond? I'm assuming yes, based on the phrasing of the Menagerie feature. Also: Does the Ranger's melee attacks (post 5th level) trigger all of them to be able to use Coordinated Attack? \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Jun 23 '17 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well I mean that's why I'm asking this question. Menagerie isn't designed for the Revised Ranger it's really for the original Ranger hence the using an Attack action to command your pet. I asked this question specifically to try and see what impact it might have so I could find a way to balance it or if it even could be balanced. \$\endgroup\$ – kwgsmith Jun 25 '17 at 12:39
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If all of these animals are active at once, and can all act freely, this is a massive change to the balance of the class.

Due to the benefits of Companion's Bond, a Revised Ranger's animal companion remains competitive in terms of health, AC, and to-hit chance with player character classes, and eventually surpasses them in terms of single-attack damage (because you add your Proficiency Bonus to their +damage modifier).

In essence, you can consider an Attack from an Animal Companion to be roughly analogous to the Ranger making an extra attack, unenhanced by magic...but doing a little more raw damage on hit (before you consider other Ranger's features or spells).

Where this gets well and truly insane is when you pair this with Coordinated Attack (5th level) and Storm of Claws and Fangs (11th level).

For this example, let's consider a Ranger who took nothing but Wolves.

For a 5th level Ranger with this feature, they would have two animal companions. Each companion would attack on their turn, then each would attack again on the Ranger's turn. If the Ranger fights with a bow, this is already as if the Ranger is making 5 attacks per round (6, if dual-wielding instead), with each attack doing roughly equivalent damage to someone with a d8 weapon...considering the boost their damage rolls get from Companion's Bond, balanced by the fact that their stats are slightly lower, so they don't hit quite as often. A bit harder if you keep them close to another melee fighter so the wolves can use Pack Tactics.

Once this progresses up to Level 11, the Ranger now has 3 Companions and is generally making 7 or 8 attacks per round...and now three of those attacks are 5' area AOEs, and with that +4 proficiency boost to their damage, they are now hitting about as hard as someone with a good 2-Handed weapon.

Additionally, if you are increasing AC as their Dex score goes up, by level 12 the Ranger has 3 Wolves with an AC of 20, 65hp, proficiency on every saving throw, and Advantage on every saving throw.

In short, by level 12....you have a character who attacks as often as a max-level Fighter burning Action Surge, most of those attacks hit like a combatant with a 2-hander, and has 195 hp worth of disposable meat shields, with excellent defenses that they can throw into the fray whenever they want (you can rez your animal companion for the pittance of 25gp).

The Revised Beast Master is already a very potent build...giving them multiple Companions would make them devastatingly powerful.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So would something like making Coordinated Attack only work for one companion a round be more balanced? So that not every wolf gets an extra attack on his turn just one of them. Maybe taking out coordinated attack completely? Or is this just way unbalanced to the point of just not even trying to make it work? \$\endgroup\$ – kwgsmith Jun 23 '17 at 21:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kwgsmith That would reduce the number of attacks per round, yes...but still leaves them hitting more often than a Fighter can. Even without Coordinated Attack, they'd still be hitting 4-5 times per round (three of those AoEs), and possessed of a large gang of hitpoint tanks with really excellent defenses. Really, Menagerie was designed to work with non-scaling pets that didn't get stronger with level. If you still wanted to add this, then I'd make the Menagerie pets not scale with the Ranger's level (basically, they don't have a Companion's Bond). [continued...] \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Jun 26 '17 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ This would play out that the Ranger has one Companion (that levels up with them), but could have several other beasts they have tamed and can lead into battle. Though...in that case, it hardly needs to be a Class Feature. A bunch of good Animal Handling checks could have basically the same result. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Jun 26 '17 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean yeah, but with the revised Ranger's Primeval Awareness you can basically get "free" Animal Handling checks to interact with beasts because your Ranger. This version of it would basically be an extension of that. You get these animal followers for "free" because you are a Beastmaster. Wonderful answer to the question though. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – kwgsmith Jun 26 '17 at 14:12

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