My Beast Master Ranger player is looking to use his hunter's mark bonus on his animal companion's attack action. Is the hunter's mark damage bonus strictly only for the ranger's attacks, or since the ranger is using their Attack action to command their animal companion to attack in their stead, can the animal companion get that bonus?


Only for the Ranger's Attacks

Hunter's Mark is cast on an initial target and provides a bonus on the caster's attacks. Emphasis is mine below:

You choose a creature you can see within range and mystically mark it as your quarry. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 damage to the target whenever you hit it with a weapon attack, and you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check you make to find it.

Just like the extra damage doesn't apply to your allies, it doesn't apply to your beast either (which is effectively another creature and an ally). It is for your attacks and your attacks only.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Which is a shame; if animal companion could benefit, beast master would be a bit more attractive. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 11 '18 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is worth noting that it is completely under your purview as the DM to decide that the (correct) ruling of our good NautArch need not affect beast masters in your world, since I also agree with Korvin in that beast masters need love in 5e. \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Jul 11 '18 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BlakeSteel The DM always has the option to houserule anything. But I don't see a huge balance issue in offloading the damage output to the Beast, while keeping the Bonus Action to change targets on the Ranger. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 11 '18 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was actually going to add this line to Beastmasters, to compensate: When you cast a spell that states the term "You", it is now amended to reflect "You or your Companion".--- I feel this would dramatically increase the interest in Beastmaster, while still being limited by Ranger spellcasting. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Jul 11 '18 at 19:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil I think that as long as you choose one at the casting then it's a reasonable addition to boost the Beastmaster a bit. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 11 '18 at 22:22

I'm gonna say No, the animal companion can't claim the bonus damage. Hunter's Mark says...

Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 damage to the target whenever you hit it with a weapon attack, (...)

Emphasis mine. You, not your allies or friendly creatures or mutual enemies. You, the caster of the spell.


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