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What is the aim of my suggestion?

I do not like the ranger from the PHB and find it problematic that the UA revised ranger does not work with subclasses other than the ones from the UA. This has led me to the decision to remove the ranger as class option for my next campaign. My players like Favored enemy however, and they love initiative bonuses. These features are not the reason to remove the ranger and I'm all for personalization options like favored enemy. Therefore, I'm thinking about packaging these features and offering them as a feat.

The feat

My idea of the feat would be the following (synthesized from the relevant features of the UA ranger):

Choose a type of favored enemy: beasts, fey, humanoids, monstrosities, undead, aberrations, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fiends, or giants.

You get a bonus of +2 on damage rolls for attacks against the favored enemy. This bonus increases to +4 at level 6. You have advantage on knowledge and tracking checks pertaining to your favored enemy.

You learn a language of your choice and gain advantage on initiative checks.

This is mostly the combined favored enemy and greater favored enemy from the UA ranger with a few changes:

  • One type of enemy from the whole set of options rather than one lesser and one greater.
  • Only one language instead of two.
  • The greater favored enemy bonus on saving throws was removed.
  • The limit of damage bonus on only weapon attacks was removed.
  • The advantage on initiative was added.

Is this balanced?

There is no problem of taking something away from a class because I already remove the ranger. I was also thinking of offering to kinds of enemies (any two, or a minor and greater like the original). This did seem a bit much however. Of course the value of favored enemy depends on how often the enemy appears. I assume my typical campaign where many of the monster classes (such humanoids, monstrosities, undead or elementals) appear regularly but in changing quantities.

Is this feat balanced compared to other feats?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Against which feats did you compare it already, so that you think it could be overpowered? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarsPlastic The initiative bonus is similar to alert, but the other bonuses in both feats are very different, so I can't which of the two is more powerful. There are other feats with damage bonuses as well such as great weapon master and sharpshooter but these are very notorious so even if I'm sure my feat is vastly less powerful this doesn't mean it is in line with more reasonable feats. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Jun 19 at 8:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't address the balance of your feat, but: "I do not like the ranger from the PHB and find it problematic that the UA ranger does not work with subclasses other than the ones from the UA." - Have you seen the optional class features for the ranger in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (which replace the ranger's base class features)? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 19 at 8:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I've read them before but couldn't remember why I didn't use those but I just reread them and they don't have any bonus to initiative and favored foe let's you choose whichever enemy is opportune so it's hardly a personalization option. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Jun 19 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mr_Bober Please don't answer, even partially, in comments. We try not to do that here \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Aug 12 at 15:10
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It's situational, but overall balanced.

As written, I think this feat is pretty fair, especially because the Ranger class wouldn't be competing for the same niche. While it does break with the majority of feats by offering a direct damage increase, the situational nature of the feat means that giving a damage boost isn't game-breaking. At the same time, the advantage on initiative means that the feat is always doing something even if the PCs are up against a different enemy type.

As far as the additional enemy type, my understanding of the original UA Favored Enemy rules is that this was added because high-level play typically involves different creature types from those more common in low-level play. For example, Beasts that present a meaningful challenge become less common at higher levels. In the same way, a creature type like Giants or Dragons is unlikely to see use before 5th or 6th level.

What I would recommend is that you keep the feat as written and try to keep rough track of how often the creature type shows up. If the feat ends up being too situational, you might want to rework it then to include the additional creature type.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree. Don't think the feat would be too situational since advantage of initiative will always pop up. If the favored enemy ends up being too rare, some other minor addition can be done too. Perhaps even something that is on when the enemy is not. Like: when taking a long rest, if you didn't fight your favored enemy that day, you may roll a d4/d6 and add that to one attack or damage (or even saving throw if you want to make it stronger) roll the following day. The explanation being that you are more calm and can focus on other things with your favored enemy out of the picture. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chebi
    Aug 12 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might also be wise to track the number of occurrences in case the feat's bonus damage isn't situational enough; for example, there can be whole campaigns that have almost entirely one enemy type (fiends, undead, humanoids, most commonly). \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Aug 12 at 15:53

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