October 7, 2016

[Unearthing the Arcana] The Ranger, Revised, Part 3: The Hunter Conclave

This is the first series for a new column to study the design and thought process of the latest Unearthed Arcana rules put out by Wizards of the Coast. This column aims for me to point out some observations I've made on the rules, imagine its impact at the table and raise discussions of how it would be used or played if it becomes official.

In my previous post, I noted on the major changes made for the animal companion between the Beast Master in the Player's Handbook, and the Beast Conclave of the revised Ranger. Though the differences would need to be looked into more closely with a supplemental post, but I wanted to move on to the rest of the conclaves before that.

For this post, I was going to look into the Hunter Conclave. But after reading through it, there is little to nothing to say about it. The conclave features for the Hunter Conclave are mechanically the same as the Hunter archetype from the Player's Handbook, and it was the most disappointing part of the revision for me.

It could almost confirm my suspicion that the main problem most were having with the Ranger class from the Player's Handbook were with the Beast Master, rather than the class as a whole. I would imagine if everyone only plays the Hunter archetype over the Beast Master archetype that appears to be weaker, there is a good case to be made that the class overall felt short of options.

But I think this is a terribly missed opportunity in not making any changes for the Hunter Conclave. If the Beast Conclave was to make the Beast Master more combat capable, I think it would have been more interesting to see the Hunter Conclave have more non-combat related features than the Hunter Archetype.

Even with the new base class features, especially for Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer, I was hoping to see if the designers would have gone to capitalized on making it more related to the features of the Hunter Conclave. Maybe even enhancing what Primeval Awareness can do as a Hunter Conclave Ranger compared to other Ranger conclaves, This would have added a lot more flavor than just being a more combat type Ranger.

Now with the new Favored Enemy granting additional bonus to damage rolls, it only makes the Hunter Ranger more effective in combat (and even so, not all of its features synergize well with the rest of the revised base class features). That, to me, makes it competing directly with the Beast Conclave to be a better combatant, instead of a different flavored Ranger. This would have been a good conclave to allow for a third Favored Enemy to be taken, to add into the hunter theme.

So that's sadly my feedback for the Hunter Conclave (and I have mentioned this in the Wizards survey for the revised Ranger) and hopefully the designers will take the opportunity to expand on the Hunter Conclave in the next revision for the Ranger.

Thankfully, this isn't the end of the series of looking into the revised Ranger. The revised Ranger also has an all new conclave added that may be the most interesting for this entire series.

So look forward to my next post when I look into the Deep Stalker Conclave

[Unearthing the Arcana: The Ranger, Revised, Part 4: The Deep Stalker Conclave]

Last updated: 9/10/2016

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