I want to tweak the Favored Foe optional class feature for the Ranger from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
I'm fairly disappointed with the Favored Foe optional class feature for the Rangers released in TCoE, it's essentially just a worse Hunter's Mark. This feature allows more versatility with your Foe Slayer feature at level 20, but it also locks your concentration. Since it's a worse Hunter's Mark, Favored Foe will probably see less use until you get Foe Slayer (and how many games reach level 20?). The only saving grace to this feature is the improved action economy. Two weapon fighting or crossbow expert Rangers might see some use out of this.
While the UA version is definitely better in terms of damage, I'd have to agree with this Reddit post that says that the UA version incentivizes 1 level dip to the Ranger class, but doesn't incentivize more levels in Ranger. User u/ZatherDaFox added "One of the ranger's biggest issues has always been a lack of really cool mid and late game abilities to justify taking the class that high."
Now, I'm trying to come up with a solution after Favored Foe was officially published in Tasha's Caudron of Everything. tl;dr, here's the changelog:
- Renamed it to Hunter's Mark
- If you take this optional class feature, it replaces your Favored Enemy class feature and removes the Hunter's Mark spell from this Ranger's spell list
- The damage still scales exactly the same as TCoE's Favored Foe, but now it applies to every attack that hits (even spell attacks)
- Added the advantage to track and find it bit from the Hunter's Mark spell
- Duration is 1 hour, following the Hunter's Mark spell
- Number of uses equal to proficiency bonus per short or long rest
- At level 11, it no longer requires concentration
1st-level ranger feature, which replaces the Favored Enemy feature and works with the Foe Slayer feature. Furthermore, Hunter's Mark is removed from your spell list.
When you hit a creature with an attack roll, you can call on your mystical bond with nature to mark the target as your favored enemy for 1 hour or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). Until your concentration ends, you deal an extra 1d4 damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack, and you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check you make to find it.
You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a short or long rest. This feature's extra damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d6 at 6th level and to 1d8 at 14th level. Furthermore, once you have reached 11th level in this class, this feature no longer requires concentration.
What this aims to fix:
As stated before, I want people to want to play the Ranger class and experience them at higher levels, not just as one level dips. I play a Ranger in my homebrew campaign, but I use the Revised Ranger UA version because the PHB just seems very DM-/campaign-dependent and, to me at least, is poorly designed compared to the other classes. Tasha's has introduced a lot of new optional class features for the Ranger that I'm eternally grateful for (I'll literally never take the PHB Natural Explorer ever again). So it sucks to see that one of them just barely misses the mark (get it? Hahah).
The changes don't really alter the playstyle of the Ranger prior to level 11, I think. I set the uses at PB per short or long rest since this Hunter's Mark can't jump between targets when you reduce one to 0 hit points. And every Rangers still need to contemplate the usual "do I drop my Hunter's Mark now and try something different, or should I stick with it?" This has always been a problem with me in my campaign, and in its current state I do plan on multiclassing into Rogue very soon, since I don't think I can utilize many spells because my Wisdom is not that high. I know that sounds more like a me thing but Wisdom is not generally the Ranger's main ability score either, so it's usually lower than their Dexterity, de-incentivizing creative uses of spells with a saving throw or a to-hit.
This changes in level 11, though. This Ranger's Hunter's Mark now no longer requires concentration. I read somewhere (can't find it anymore) that advised people who wants to homebrew stuff to stay away from altering the concentration mechanic in D&D 5e, among other things (action economy was also mentioned). I removed the concentration at level 11 because it's entering a new tier of play, so I think it's a fitting jump in terms of prowess for this class. Also, since it no longer requires concentration at this level, Rangers can now try more experiments with their spells! It removes one decision point in combat for the Ranger, which I think is a good thing.
The Ranger's current level 11 class feature is tied to their subclass, so this adds another oomph to those as well. But, I am also deathly afraid that messing with concentration like this is going to overpower the Ranger when compared to the other martial classes. My biggest argument is that the Paladin gets Improved Divine Smite also at 11th level, which is very similar to this Hunter's Mark since it's a straight damage buff.
tl;dr, the question: do these changes for Favored Foe, now renamed Hunter's Mark, significantly buffs the Rangers, to the point of overpowered when compared to the other martial classes?