Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fixing Beast Mastery (II): Beast as Weapons

The Ranger Beast Master is an awesome concept that suffers from a slightly clunky execution. This is my attempt at a cleaner implementation. The idea is to skip pet stat blocks (which I find cumbersome) and have them use their master's stats for everything but attack and movement. There is a sacrifice in realism, accuracy or whatever, but it becomes a lot easier to use. The simplified pet stats are similar to weapon stats, and fit in just one line, so you can tell one pet from other at first glance. Pet special abilities have been keyworded

These rules change the way that pet stats are generated, and (intentionally) increase the efectiveness of pet attacks. As I explained before, pet attacks were too weak, particularly in higher levels, and this directly affected Ranger Beast Powers. My revision should bring them on par with weapon basic attacks, which should allow those powers to work properly.

Beast statistics

The statistics for each category of beast companion have been simplified, and have the following presentation:

Beast: The name of this beast category.
Key ability: One of your ability scores (usually Strength or Dexterity) will be used to calculate the beast's attack bonus and damage bonus. (See Calculating Beast attack and damage bonus, below).
Prof.: A proficiency bonus that applies to all attack rolls made by the beast.
Damage.: The beast's damage die (represented by [B]).
Speed.: The beast's speed, including any special movement types.
Size: The beast's size.
Group: Beast groups are families of beasts that share certain characteristics. In game terms, some powers and feats work only when your pet belongs to a specific group.
Skills: Each beast is trained in certain skills. For these skills, you gain a +2 bonus, and your beast can make checks using your skill check bonus. For any other skill check of your beast companion, use your appropiate ability check values.
Properties: Beast properties define additional characteristics shared by beasts that might be in different categories. (Specific beast properties will be described in the * following post)

In addition, all beast companions share a few characteristics.
Level: Your beast companion's level is always equal to yours.
Healing surges: Your beast companion has two healing surges.
Vision: Your beast companion has low-light vision.

Finally, your beast shares the following game statistics with you.
- Hit Points, Bloodied Value and Healing Surge Value
- Defenses: Armor Class, Reflex, Fortitude, Will
- Ability Scores
- Initiative (a beast can only act in its master's initiative turn)

Calculating Beast attack and damage bonus

You will need a dedicated section in your character sheet for your beast companion's attack bonus and damage bonus.

- Beast attack bonus.
1/2 level + Beast proficiency bonus + Beast enhancenment bonus + key ability bonus + other modifiers
- Beast damage bonus. Apply this bonus whenever a power adds a beast's ability modifier to damage.
Beast enhancenment bonus + key ability bonus + other modifiers

Example: Predator Strike (level 1 at-will power) deals, on a hit,
"1[b] + beast's Strength modifier + your Wisdom modifier damage".
This would translate to
"1[b] + Beast damage bonus + your Wisdom modifier damage".

Enhancenment bonus: A beast can gain an enhancenment bonus from the Train beast ritual.

Weapon feats and beast attacks: In addition to the features listed in Martial Power, beast master Rangers gain the following feature:

- Martial Beast. While you are wielding a weapon, your beast's attacks can benefit from feats as if they were made with one of the weapons you are wielding.
(For example, if you have Weapon Focus with hammers and Hammer Rythm, your beast attacks will deal extra damage and damage on a miss as long as you wield a hammer).

Next: Beast categories and special properties

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