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It says in the Unearthed Arcana of the Revised Ranger that:

For every level after 3rd, your animal companion gains an additional hit die and increases its hit points accordingly.

Does this count only levels in the Ranger class, or would the companion get a hit die if the character gains a level in another class?

In the same vein, the companion's abilities improve when you get an Ability Score Improvement. Does this include Ability Score Improvements from other classes, or just those you get from being a ranger?

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I wanted to leave THIS here for reference and to let everyone reading know that NOTHING about the Revised Ranger Unearthed Arcana has been tuned or explained as it applies to Multi-Classing yet, as stated by Crawford. A single dip into this current ranger build allows considerably powerful combinations, such as permanent sneak attack.

That being said, and knowing that we have no SPECIFIC rulings yet on how to Multiclass this 'still in testing phase' Ranger, what follows are the rules for Multiclassing and how they apply to ALL Class Features. Of this there can be no argument until we hear details on how to Multiclass the Enclave Ranger.

Class Features only apply when levels in that Class are gained.

First; both of these Features are exactly that. Ranger Features; and as such the extra Hit Die and the ASI to your ranger companion do NOT work if you gain levels in other classes. Read this as 'For every Ranger level after 3rd'.

Example: Rogue Expertise

"...at 6th level you can choose two more of your proficiencies to gain this benefit..."

When you are a rogue you gain Expertise at 1st level. You don't then get to choose a second set of skills to gain expertise in at 6th level, unless you have 6 levels in Rogue. Even though it does not say as much explicitly, it is implied that this is a Rogue Feature, and applies only to Rogue levels.

The Feature you are asking about is Companion's Bond, and appears on Pages 5-6 of the Revised Ranger Document found in the Unearthed Arcana section of the D&D website. Since this is a class feature unique to the Ranger class Beastmaster Enclave, its rules only apply when you gain levels in Ranger.

Second; Ability Score Improvements (ABIs) are also class specific Features. So if you gain your ASI from the Ranger Ability Score Improvement Feature at the Ranger levels shown, your Ranger beast companion benefits from it as well. What this does not mean is that if you gain levels in, say, Fighter; which has more ASI granted to you; that it applies to your Companions Bond Ranger feature. Think of this as, if you are learning the art of the Fighter on the side, any experience you gain as a Fighter is in exchange for growing better as a Ranger and working better with your Animal Companion. Your Animal Companion is only ever linked to Ranger.

Same goes for any Features found in the Ranger list. Only Ranger levels. This can be backed up more solidly by looking at PHB pg. 163 - 164. The Multi-classing table has a definitive and exhaustive list of things that are gained when multiclassing, and points out that anything not listed there, or explicitly tied to Character Level elsewhere (such as Proficiency Bonus), is never tied to Character Level.

This makes a few solid points

  • You gain Hit Dice and Hit Points only from your Class Level.
  • Proficiency Bonus is based on Character Level.
  • Only when you gain a level in a particular class, do you gain features from ONLY that particular class; both from any features given to you at that class level, and features that grow more powerful as you gain levels in that class.

The only exception to this rule, because 'specific beats general' is when it comes to your Animal Companion's proficiency bonus, as stated in the separate box on page 6. It says as you gain levels and your proficiency bonus goes up, so too does your animal companions proficiency bonus. It will always match your own proficiency bonus no matter what Multiclass levels you might have.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jun 4 at 19:08
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Hit Dice: Level for a class feature means "class level"

Almost all class features begin with "At X level…". This always means "At X level in this class…". Occasionally this is called out explicitly, but usually it is avoided in order to avoid unnecessary repetition.

Many class features come into play at a specific level. There are few that have the exact language of the Companion's Bond feature, "For each level you gain after 3rd…". However, there are other class features that are keyed to level, such as the number of spells prepared spellcasters can prepare. This explicitly refers to class level, not character level.

The only candidate counterexample, cantrips (which scale with character level), is not a class feature.

Therefore, it seems that "each level" after 3rd has to be understood as "each ranger level" after 3rd.

ASIs: Might increase with ASIs earned from any class

As far as I can tell, there are no other class features that progress quite like the ASI of the Beast Conclave Ranger's Animal Companion.

As much as possible, class features with the same name have identical or extremely similar mechanics. ASIs clearly stack. If you get an ASI from a class, it increases your ability score, which increases your effectiveness with all features that rely on that ability, regardless of class. You don't have separate Wisdom scores for Druid spellcasting and Ranger spellcasting, depending on which class gave you the ASI.

Furthermore, in the rules on multiclassing, the designers take pains to clarify which class features with the same name do not stack. You don't get additional attacks if you get Extra Attack from different sources, or additional uses of Channel Divinity. In the absence of a rule to the contrary, the condition "Whenever you gain the Ability Score Improvement class feature" would seem to apply to gaining the ASI from any class. The comparison with features keyed to class level does not apply. Again, there is no other class feature like this that can be pointed to for comparison.

Reasons why keying these abilities to class or character level might or might not be a good idea

It's not clear what the designers intended here, and as noted by Airatome, Crawford has stated that multiclassing has not yet been tuned for this class. That said, there are valid reasons for and against allowing either or both of these abilities to scale with character level as opposed to class level. In the following, "PRO" means in favor of scaling by character level.

  • PRO: The order of multiclassing usually doesn't matter. The only exceptions are proficiencies (you don't get all proficiencies for classes after your first class) and Unarmored Defense. If Animal Companion hit dice and ASIs depended on class order, Ranger 3/Anything Else 17 is massively different from Anything Else 17/Ranger 3, in a way not duplicated anywhere in the game.
  • PRO: This defining archetype feature needs to scale by character level in order to be useful at all at higher levels. The archetype's features are oriented toward a combat companion, not a scout (like a familiar). A squishy animal companion is just useless for that purpose.
  • CON: A 3 level dip can get you most of what is good about having the Animal Companion without the additional class level investment. Might be easily abused.
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I think Airatime is showing the most D&D-FU here.

But at the end of the day, these are UA rules and prototypical at best. Quoting specific wording as RAW isnt the way to work, you gotta think about what is here and try to figure out how it fits. A bit of RAI (as subjective as that is) with a bit of impact analysis and "Well, this is how I would play it"

I also have a rule when it comes to multiclassing : no multi-class character should do that which is the domain of the class better than a single class character of the same level. If this aint true, multiclassing needs touch ups...

That said (the way I would choose to DM this)

  • Prof Bonus : This is always character level. See no reason to change that now.
  • Hit Dice Bonus : Reading it, I interpret it as ranger level (agree with Airatime). However, imagine a level 20 character with 3 ranger levels. You have a creature with, what, 30 hit points!! The feature has gotta be feasible, and I dont see that here. I would actually have this a character levels (even if that is a house rule).
  • Bonus Ability score : I think is ranger level ability score. The point that an MC fighter would do better from this that a pure ranger is odd, but not overly compelling.

When I look at it as a whole though : The point about hit points, that having this creature entirely unusable is you dont pure, makes me think. That these three features ARE meant to be based on character level. That if I multiclass, I will have a feasible companion. But should I go pure, I then also get

  • Coordiated Attack
  • Beasts Deffence/Superior Beasts Defence
  • Storm of Claw and Fangs

Logically, I think its ranger level...but at a gut instinct level, I think its character level.

I guess we will have to wait for the official publication to know.

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The pet is not linked to ranger hit dice in my opinion. It simply gains it's own hit dice in addition. So the hit dice shouldn't be an issue. The proficiency bonus is simple it's character lvl based and as for when it gains ASI well it doesn't specifically say ranger. So say in a multi class the pet gains it whenever the character would. So that pet could lose out on ASI like the character can if not lvled right.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center to learn how things work around here. Unfortunately this doesn't really answer the question. "So the hit dice shouldn't be an issue" does that mean the companion gains hit die when the PC takes levels in another class or not? Additionally answers need to be supported by rules or evidence rather than just opinion. Can you support your view with any references? What does " not lvled right" mean? You can edit your post to clarify and add support. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Jun 4 at 7:10

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