6
\$\begingroup\$

(Homebrewery Link)

Design Considerations

I used various Reddit comments, the Pathfinder 1e Ranger Archetype, and the 3.5 UA Archetype as my guides for this class variant. The idea is to use the Alternate Class Features UA (maybe also in Tasha's?) to flavor the Ranger without creating a class from scratch.

The Class Archetype / Features

Alternate Skills

Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth, and Survival (removed Nature from the stock list)

Alternate Spell List

The urban ranger's spell list is different from the standard ranger list. The following spells are eliminated from the urban ranger's spell list:

1st Level

Animal Friendship, Speak with Animals

2nd Level

Animal Messenger, Barkskin, Locate Animals or Plants, Spike Growth

3rd Level

Conjure Animals, Plant Growth, Speak with Plants, Water Walk

4th Level

Conjure Woodland Beings

5th Level

Commune with Nature, Tree Stride

In exchange, the urban ranger adds the following spells to their class list:

Cantrips

Friends, Message

1st Level

Charm Person, Comprehend Languages

2nd Level

Detect Thoughts, Hold Person, Knock, Invisibility

3rd Level

Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding,Speak with Dead, Tongues

4th Level

Faithful Hound

5th Level

Hold Monster, Mislead

Recommended Alternate Class Features

Because of the multiple sources, I ended up with two options to replace Land's Stride. It's entirely possible that mixing them would be enough, but I didn't want it to end up OP so I opted to give the player a choice.

  • City Explorer
  • Favored Enemy, Revised
  • Urban Awareness
  • Greater Favored Enemy, Revised
  • Favored Community
  • Push Through or Fleet of Foot
  • Blend In

Alternate Class Features

City Explorer

1st-level ranger feature (Replaces Natural Explorer)

You are a master of navigating the winding streets and alleyways of cities and towns, and you react with swift and decisive action when attacked. This grants you the following benefits when inside a town or city:

  • You ignore difficult terrain.
  • You have advantage on initiative rolls.
  • On your first turn during combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted.

In addition, you are skilled in urban navigation. You gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more:

  • Difficult terrain doesn't slow your group's travel.
  • Your group can't become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
  • If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When you scrounge, forage, or dumpster-dive, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Favored Enemy, Revised (Urban)

1st-level ranger feature (Replaces Favored Enemy)

Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy commonly encountered in cities and towns.

Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.

Another alternative, with the DM's approval, an urban ranger may select an organization instead of a creature type as his favored enemy. For example, a character might select a particular thieves' guild, merchant house, or even the city guard. The favored enemy bonuses would apply to all members of the chosen organization, regardless of their creature type or subtype.

You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against creatures of the chosen type. Additionally, you have advantage on Intelligence (Inivestigation) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. Also, if the Alternate Ability Skills variant rule is being used, you have advantage on Charisma (Investigation) to gather information about your chosen enemy.

When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice, typically one spoken by your favored enemy or creatures associated with it. However, you are free to pick any language you wish to learn.

Urban Awareness

3rd-level ranger feature (Replaces Primeval Awareness)

Beginning at 3rd level, your mastery of ranger lore allows you to establish a powerful link to beasts and to the city around you.

You have an innate ability to communicate with beasts, and they recognize you as a kindred spirit. Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas to a beast as an action, and can read its basic mood and intent. You learn its emotional state, whether it is affected by magic of any sort, its short-term needs (such as food or safety), and actions you can take (if any) to persuade it to not attack.

You cannot use this ability against a creature that you have attacked within the past 10 minutes.

Additionally, you can attune your senses to determine if any of your favored enemies lurk nearby. By spending 1 uninterrupted minute in concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell), you can sense whether any of your favored enemies are present within 5 miles of you, or within city limits, whichever is smaller. This feature reveals which of your favored enemies are present, their numbers, and the creatures’ general direction and distance (in miles) from you.

If there are multiple groups of your favored enemies within range, you learn this information for each group.

Greater Favored Enemy, Revised (Urban)

6th-level ranger feature (Replaces Favored Enemy improvement)

At 6th level, you are ready to hunt even deadlier game. Choose a second type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two more races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies, or an organization with the DM'S approval. You gain all the benefits against this chosen enemy that you normally gain against your favored enemy, including an additional language. Your bonus to damage rolls against all your favored enemies increases to +4.

Additionally, you have advantage on saving throws against the spells and abilities used by a greater favored enemy.

Favored Community

6th-level ranger reature (Replaces Natural Explorer improvement)

At 6th level, the urban ranger forms a bond with a community. This grants you the following benefits when inside this favored community:

  • You gain a +2 on initiative rolls
  • You have advantage on Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks.

An urban ranger traveling through his favored community leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (although he may leave a trail if he so desires).

For the purposes of this ability, a community is any settlement consisting of 100 or more individuals. The community may be larger than this minimum. Outlying farms, fields, and houses are not considered part of a community.

This feature may be taken again at 10th level, replacing the Natural Explorer improvement, to select another favored community.

Fleet of Foot

8th-level ranger feature (Replaces Land's Stride)

Beginning at 8th level, you can use the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn.

Push Through

8th-level ranger feature (Replaces Land's Stride)

Starting at 8th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. In addition, you can move through the space occupied by local citizens as if they were allies. This does not apply to creatures intent on harming you. Areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect you.

In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the entangle spell.

Blend In

10th-level ranger feature (Replaces Natural Explorer improvement)

At 10th level, you can cast Disguise Self as a bonus action, when inside your favored community. In addition to this, when a creature uses its action to discern that you are disguised, it must succeed on an Intelligence (Investigation) against your Dexterity (Stealth) roll instead of your spell save DC.

This does not expend a spell slot, but you cannot use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Update: Added Message and Friends cantrips; replaced Greater Invis. with Faithful Hound. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Matney Nov 24 '20 at 16:53
7
\$\begingroup\$

This seems very well balanced to me.

While the spell list is a liiiitle bit more powerful (high, Greater Invis!), it isn't exceptionally so, and it certainly doesn't make the class overpowered. Thematically sound too, good job on that.

The change of traits to be more urban-themed aren't exceptionally more or less powerful than the base either. I can certainly see some of the inspiration for this showing through. All in all, it seems fairly well done.


Side note: Message is a Cantrip, not a level 1 spell. Rangers normally don't get Cantrips, and 5e moved away from having spells be different levels for different classes (plus, it feels kinda bad to have to spend a spell slot on a spell that everyone else gets to cast for free). I recommend adding Charm Person to their list of Ranger spells instead, and consider giving them the Message, or maybe the Friends, cantrip as a free bonus cantrip, as both seem fairly thematic and the utility they afford isn't likely to be overly strong.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding greater invisibility, it's worth noting that as half-casters, rangers are only getting the ability to learn it at ranger level 13 (6 levels after bards, sorcerers, and wizards)... Rven then they'd have to spend one of their few known spells on it (they gain their 8th known spell at ranger level 13, and only have 11 known spells by ranger level 19-20). Plus it's competing for their concentration with many other ranger spells (literally just over half of the ranger's spell list requires concentration, at least as of just before Tasha's Cauldron of Everything was published). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 24 '20 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Sure it's competing with other spells, but generally speaking, Greater Invisibility is one of the best spells for offense or defense (or both at the same time) spells for its level. It's being traded for Conjure Woodland Beings, and while that can be used for incredible cheese via the summoning of a swarm of Pixies, most DM's aren't going to let you get away with that, so Greater Invis. is more consistently useful as well. \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Nov 24 '20 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon -- The 3.5 UA has "Faithful Hound" as the 4th-level swap out, which I couldn't find when I was doing the spell swaps (my google-fu failed me!). Now that I know it's a thing, and that Greater Invis is the most questionable choice I made, I'd probably swap it out for Faithful Hound. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Matney Nov 24 '20 at 15:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DaveMatney Oh, my intended point was not that Greater Invis. was a bad swap for being too powerful. I think it's a good choice. Faithful Hound is a thematic choice as well, so if you like that more, that's not a bad call, but just be aware that it is significantly weaker than both Greater Invis. and Conjure Woodland Beings. \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Nov 24 '20 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon Would it be too much to have both in the available spell list? \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Matney Nov 24 '20 at 16:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.