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Looking over the CR 1/4 beasts, they seem rather weak. I think it would be more beneficial to allow a ranger to obtain a CR 1 beast. Seeming as rangers receive a beast companion at level 3 (if they pick the archetype), I would think it would not pose a problem. Assuming that is not an issue, what about a dragon wyrmling? A previous question I asked inquired about obtaining a pseudo-dragon but my player is really excited to have a dragon companion since he is playing a dragonborn.

Are dragon wyrmlings similar in power to a beast alternative? Should I worry about my player being too powerful? If so, what would you recommend doing to alleviate that?

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It is too powerful.

A CR 1 creature is comparable to a level 3-4 PC. Giving the PC an entire new PC of similar level (roughly) is an extreme jump in power level, even considering the relative weakness of the archetype in other respects.

Consider making the dragon an ally rather than a companion

To avoid having the dragonborn and is companion outshine the other characters, you can make the dragon an ally of the whole party (perhaps the dragonborn can introduce his friend to the party, but it should be its own character). This is especially useful since dragons are heavily intelligent characters and are not exactly fitting for controlled companions. There is no reason that the party couldn't be accompanied by an NPC designed by one of the players (you should still control the NPC to avoid letting the dragonborn player outshine the others).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My thought was that it would not be an issue for very long because the PC's won't be level 3-4 for too long. Eventually the dragon is going to become pretty useless because the damage gets outclassed right? I can probably alleviate the damage issues by nerfing it until level 5-6 by saying its a younger dragon or something. Or I could do something similar to what Steve Bauer said and make the breath a recharge. \$\endgroup\$ – Boldemort Mar 2 '18 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ CRs are deceptive at times. I had my level 1 party of 5 go against two cockatrice the other night which are CR 1/2. Even with the low AC and damage the added hp made them nearly wipe. They had more than twice the hp of the fighter in the group. Makes a huge difference, that and the petrification obviously. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 2 '18 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth CR is certainly subject to deviations and should usually be taken on a case by case basis. (Although 5 level 1 characters should be able to effectively deal with two cockatrice). Still, the beastmaster ranger is balanced around a 1/4 cr creature. A CR 1 is at least twice as good. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 2 '18 at 14:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Yeah couple of unlucky saves makes all the difference. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 2 '18 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Boldemort - The breath is already a recharge. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Mar 2 '18 at 18:25
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It is too powerful but you could make it work

A CR 1 creature is comparable to a level 3-4 PC by itself but as an animal companion using that power is pretty limited. For the beast to attack the ranger has to not attack which means overall as long as the companion isn't much more powerful than the ranger’s attack I don't see the issue.

Take a Copper Dragon wyrmling compared to a flying snake. +2 AC, A lot more hp but they will match by level 6, and you can start it lower than average. Damage of the main attack is about the same. The breath weapon is powerful, and if you leave it as unlimited use (has to recharge, but will get it at least once every battle) I think it could be an issue but limited to say 3 times per long rest it would be no more powerful than a magic item like wand of fireballs.

It has a few more skills and resistance but dont think those would be a big deal. I can talk which is a huge help but that ranger cant talk to its beast is pretty lame.

A hafling ranger could ride it as a mount which would be very powerful but for a dragonborn it is not an issue.

The creature being intelligent is different from a normal companion but not really a issue, intelligent, loyal animals is a pretty common fantasy trope. One proble if you plan a lot of urban encounters may be most inns arent going to let you keep the dragon in your room. Is dealing with that going to be fun for the party or a distraction?

Might want to discuss it with the group to see if they like the idea or they think iti is a problem.

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No it is not troublesome

I allow my players to expand their selection of pet to just about anything within the CR limits of the class so long as there is a logical reason for them to have that pet. In my experience, this does not overtly affect the overall game or balance. For example, in my current game our Ranger has a Bronze Wyrmling squired to him. Due to the creature's intelligence, it has been directed by it's mother to perform this task, so the "bond" is more an obligation the dragon feels it is bound to perform.

If at any time this proves to be too powerful, the dragon could consider itself as outgrowing the ability of the Ranger to teach it anything further, and return to it's mother. From my vast experience with houseruling things like this, I can comfortably state that this won't be the case. The dragon is no more powerful than a bear realistically. It simply has the advantage/disadvantage of flight (moves around easily, however easy for ranged to target), combined with an AoE attack that's entirely situational.

So no, this isn't really an issue. I think your player will enjoy it, and you'll find it doesn't upset anything.

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No it is not too powerful.

First - the revised ranger allows for CR 1, so even if you are the PHB BM you really should get CR 1.

Second - both the copper working and CR 1/2 Black Bear attacks do avg 7 damage on a hit.

Last is a little change. For the breath weapon I would either make it similar to a dragonborns (recharge on SR), or or hold off until BM is lvl 7. This will keep the wyrmling from being to strong at lower levels.

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