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According to the PHB, the Beast Master's companion acts on your initiative but can't attack, dash, disengage, dodge, or help unless you consume your action to command it to do so. That said, there is a clause stating:

Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack action.

Does this clause circumvent the consuming of your action? Or is it trying to imply that once you have Extra Attack, you can use one attack to command your pet to attack, and the Extra Attack to attack yourself?

If the former, it would make the Beast Master Ranger feel much more balanced, since at 5th level you'll be able to attack twice and have your companion attack once. Without it, it seems almost worthless to go Beast Master, since your companion is always locked to 1/4 CR and having it attack would prevent you from doing anything that turn (whereas the other archetypes work to power you up, not down).

This seems like it would also bring the Ranger more in line with other classes (and the beast master more in line with other archetypes) without the need for a house rule like allowing the Beast Master to command their companion to attack as a bonus action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You may or may not already know this, but due to the Ranger's perceived weakness, they've actually released revised rules that attempt to fix some of the problems with the base rules that you've highlighted. These new rules haven't been published, so they aren't official content yet, but with your DM's permission you might be able to use them anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Tiggerous Aug 4 '18 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tiggerous Yeah, I actually came across that after posting. We have a session zero later tonight. Depending on our party makeup, I might ask to play ranger using the revised ruleset. \$\endgroup\$ – Doc Aug 5 '18 at 22:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Beast master is in line with other archetypes. If the ranger got to attack twice and the beast once, then the ranger would actually be more powerful than other archetypes. 3 attacks in one round(4 if you use twf) at level 5 is OP. \$\endgroup\$ – user28536 Apr 5 at 6:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user28536 I and the player-base at large seem to disagree. Hunter ranger for example can pick up Colossus Slayer to add a 1d8 to an attack if an opponent is below max hp. Horde Breaker lets you make an extra attack against another opponent when you attack if said opponent is within 5ft of your first primary target. Horizon Walker gives Planar Warrior, letting you deal +1d8 force damage on an attack. All of those are better than getting an extra attack from your pet. Especially when the pet has to be in range, at risk, and deals only 1d4-1d6 with a lower chance to hit than you do. \$\endgroup\$ – Doc Apr 8 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user28536 and none of that is affected by potential multi-classing; since you can't sneak attack or smite or whatnot on your pet's attack anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Doc Apr 8 at 16:00
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You get one attack

You are not taking the Attack action so you don't get two attacks from Extra Attack (emphasis mine):

you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Instead, this feature gives you a separate benefit: "make one weapon attack" when you command your beast to Attack:

You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack... action

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