Role-Playing games

The Pack Leader

by Serban, Quartermaster @ The Guild Hall

April 14, 2020

Welcome, dear adventurer, to Build-a-Blast. Now, if you’re anything like me, you like trying out fun, new D&D combinations. This series is for you. You, the grizzled old veterans of tabletop, for whom a simple cleric or bland fighter ain’t enough. You, the midmaxing critfishers with a creative feel. In Build-a-Blast, we’ll try to build some fun new PCs for ourselves. This week, a personal favorite: The Pack Leader.

The Origin

I have always hated the ranger class. I felt it was poorly designed and underpowered. Frankly, I saw it as a bait for new players. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, my players would come in, say they want to be Legolas and become nothing short of fools. It was horrid. But then, Wizards came out with the Ranger Revised. “Nice,” I said, “a slightly better ranger. This is surely going to be fun one day.”

And, a little while ago, it finally became fun. We received the official Artificer. In all fairness, we had the UA version for a while, but that just didn’t garner my interest. Well, when I looked at the Artificer, I had a mad idea: What if I paired the Battle Smith with the Beast Conclave Ranger? Yeah, you heard it.

The Theme

Using the Ranger Revised, you can become the pack leader you’ve always wanted to be. Just imagine: You, a mix between nature and technology, flanked by a fierce wolf and his mechanical brother. Not one threat, not two, but three. Imagine the hardship upon your enemies as you charge in with your small army. There can’t possibly be something cooler than that. You empower your arrows with magic and maybe even create infusions to make them blow up! And then shoot from afar as your pack maintains the enemies at a safe distance. It’s pretty cool.

The Gameplay

Before we go any further, I have to specify that this ONLY WORKS with the Ranger Revised, as it is the only way your pet has its own initiative and does not require you to give up attacks, therefore making it redundant. Also, don’t worry about dexterity or strength, as you’ll be using Intelligence for both your fighting and your spellcasting. Another powerful element is the fact that you won’t be stacking Extra Attack features, as the revised ranger gets Coordinated Attack at level 5 instead. This can bring you up to 4 attacks a turn at level 10. Two from you, one from your Defender and one from your Pet. On its turn, the pet will attack again, making it 5. If you ask me, this is pretty darn strong, because it doesn’t require ANY resource. You can do it every turn.

Tips & Tricks

  • Unlike other rangers, you also have cantrips, because of your Artificer roots.
  • Want advantage? Your pets can flank for each other!
  • Duel wielding is not the way to go, as you’ll miss out on Defender attacks
  • Speaking of attacks, make them even better with Hunter’s Mark
  • Don’t be afraid to get a few support/situational spells, because your damage is high enough without them
  • If you’re feeling lucky, talk to your DM about allowing some features, such as Beast’s Defense, to carry over to both pets!
  • Have fun!

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