Recently I started leveling up in Ranger class, and I looked into the Beast master Ranger archetype and something bothered me. If a character decides to have a Pony as a Companion, would commanding him to Dash (Dodge or Disengage) take an action.

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. 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.

The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, though it doesn't take an action unless you command it to. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you).

Commanding it to move would not take an action but commanding something else would. And it can be a Ranger's companion since it is medium, has a 1/8 challenge and it can even be a mount since my character is a Halfling.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You mean telling it to dash would take the pony's turn, or yours? \$\endgroup\$ – John Jan 22 '18 at 20:10

The text of the Beast Master's companion ability clearly states, immediately after your quoted portion:

You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action.

With the Ranger RAW from the PHB, you must actively command the companion (requiring an action) if you want it to do any of these things. If your companion is a trained mount and you are riding it, things might be different - then it seems reasonable to allow you to direct the mount to take one of these trained actions without having to use an action yourself.


You may wish to strongly consider looking over the Unearthed Arcana: Revised Ranger material and asking your DM if you can instead use the Beast Conclave archetype shown. The Beast Master ranger is widely considered the worst archetype of one of the weakest classes, and the alternative version presented with the Beast Conclave archetype is much more powerful and also more fun to play as it abolishes the need to constantly use your action simply commanding your companion to do anything interesting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you not spend 50gp on bonding with a 8gp worth mule if you have one alrady? \$\endgroup\$ – Spellcaster Jan 22 '18 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Those 50gp are only used for attracting the beast, not for bonding. \$\endgroup\$ – Spellcaster Jan 22 '18 at 20:47

RAW, yes, that would take an action. This is part of why the Beastmaster Ranger in the PHB is widely disparaged; the companion's abilities and autonomy are severely nerfed. I use (and would recommend) an alternative design.


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