Ranger Prestige Class... Balanced? (3.5e)

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
I have a player looking at 3.5e Prestige classes in the future, and he found the Bowman of the Wild homebrew class on the D&D wiki. He's basically looking for a Ranger that utilizes a bow and an animal companion, but also wants to have the ability to hold his own in melee. As far as I can tell, spellcasting is not high on his radar, but could hold a minor role. Can you guys tell if this class is relatively balanced? Can you recommend something better? It doesn't seem like 3.5e RAW has many Ranger-themed prestige classes.
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.
I'll admit, it's been a while sinse I played a 3.5 game but when I first read this prestige class it feels like a bit much...

But the more I look at it, it seems to fit the standard for a PrC. It's more powerful then going straight class Ranger, which I think is a flaw of the PrC system, but compared to some of the more agregious PrCs I know are out there, this one doesn't seem too bad.

You might also consider a custom made feat (or perhaps 2) that allow the character to ramp up his animal companion. Or simply modify the base class similarly to how the variant wizard specialists they had. Something like "loose all spellcasting, but use your full ranger level for determining animal companion, and +1d6 damage per 4 levels to favored enemy" or something.

Good luck! 
My blog - Forced Movement: Play With Confidence. "I find choice a bit overrated. Once you select a character concept and decide what you want a character to do, most of the choices are made for you. Powers aren't created equal, and there's usually one choice clearly superior to the others. Now this is more true for some classes than others, and the more you optimize the more true it is, but I find it holds." -- thecasualoblivion

I'd reword it a bit, but overall this PC will probably still lag behind full casters a fair bit. They will lag behind optimized melee ubercharges some, and will probably compete alright with rogues and the like (who aren't terribly optimized). Better then straight out ranger, but straight out ranger is pretty bad. 


It all depends on what balance level you are going for. **** TLDR


Things to change because its super awkwardly worded and not very well made.


Animal Companion - The class can be entered after 4 levels of Ranger. Level 4 ranger gets their crappy companion, and then level 1 in this class gives a good one. Thats awkward, and would be less so if you entered the class at 3, or rangers got them at 5. As it stands its fairly complicated to calculate ... Also, the example given to explain animal companions isn't a legal build. Druid 3 cannot enter the class due to the BAB requirements. 


Natural Bond - This is super awkward. A ranger 4/this 10 has a druid level of 15 for their companion. Natural Bond adds +3, but not above your ECL meaning it does nothing (rules are unclear if natural bond recovers penalties for gaining an improved companion, but I think the general assumption is no)


All those random feats at the end are basically worthless, because they are feats you want to take earlier. 


Ranged Power - Doesn't work with Manyshot, and this class looks like it should focus on that. Not too bad otherwise. Maybe increase the damage a little, but the animal companion is buffed with my other changes so you might be OK here. 


Minimal changes I originally wrote up at first glance. Further down are some more thought out ones

Show
 

  • Prereq to BAB +5. (very rare to enter a prestige class before 6th level)

  • Animal Companion. Each level of this class grants +1 to your effective druid level for the purposes of your animal companion. Druids now get normal full progression, and rangers get slightly behind. 

  • Natural Bond - This is super awkward as written. Change it to "Enhanced Companion" and say you can increase your effective druid level by +3 regardless of your actual class level or HD".

  • Random Feats - Add a line about how if you already have it, you get any fighter bonus feat, but don't count as a fighter for the purposes of requirements"

  • Ranged Power - Reword to apply to each arrow or projectile launched, not just attack roll.


Generally a animal companion is about as good as many unoptimized melee classes. So that class feature really doesn't need to be pumped too much. 


Actually, to rework this I think I'd do something like this



  • Preq - BAB +5 (this is the only one)

  • BAB - Full

  • Skill - as written

  • Saves - Good fort and ref

  • Level 1 - Enhanced Companion - Each level of this class gives +1 to your effective Druid level for your animal companion. If you don't have you, you can get one.

  • Level 1 - You deal an extra 1d6 damage on each arrow that successfully hits a target you attack. This increases at level 3 and 5 by another D6

  • Level 2 - You get Manyshot. You don't need any of its prereqs and if you have it you get a bonus feat of your choice.

  • Level 4 - Speak with Animal - You can speak with animals 3/day as per the spell. Your CL is your bowman class level +10. It is Wisdom based. 


Thats it and the class is 5 levels long. Its 5 levels that are interesting at each one, and you are encouraged to take it the whole way through. It also gives room to take some other relavent prestige classes. Martial guys are generally encouraged to only take a level or two of most classes, and tieing them to 10 is a big commitment. By the end of 10 levels it has to offer something really awesome and this just doesn't. 


This is why people take 2 levels of fighter (sometimes 4), 1 of barbarian, 4 (or less) of paladin, and 2 of ranger. Then 1-3 of a bunch of prestige classes. Not because they are munchkins, but because the levels past that are generally not worth it. You get a lot of power by bouncing around and you still generally aren't at the highest levels of it compared to a caster. 



****TLDR


Really though, to know if this is approperiate for your group we need to know some of the other classes and builds used in this game. If they are "Druid 20, wizard 5/prestige class, Rogue 20 TWF" the asnwer is probably sucks in comparison. If they say "Druid 10/Wizard 6/fighter 4, paladin 20, and Monk 15/sorcerer 5" we know this will probably be too strong. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"

"Your advice is the worst"

Thanks Krusk. Excellant analysis, and I will put it into practice.

As I said in my original post, this is for a future prestige class choice. Players just all entered 3rd level, and I just recommended that they started looking at the prerequisites for prestige classes so they could plan accordingly. So technically the Ranger's other party members are "Cleric 3" and "Barbarian 2/Druid 1".

Considering that the player in question is going for a Ranger with more focus on combat and skills than spells and animal companions, this  prestige class (plus your changes) will work.

Once again, appreciate the assitance. This is exactly what the player and myself were looking for. 
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.

This class as I changed it will probably outshine the barb/druid, and the cleric if he is a healbot. If the cleric isn't a healbot, he will probably be on par with this class or far better. 


I'd consider throwing the barb/druid a bone and giving them something like a sweet item to help them out. Do they plan to do more barbarian and just the one in druid, or more in druid and less in barb?


If they like a shapeshifting rage monster, check out Barbarian 5/Fist of the Forest 3/Bear Warrior 10/Barbarian 2. You can turn into an agile wolf monster or straight up a bear. It will also be fairly powerful, especially in comparison to a  druid/barb multiclass. Its not terribly complicated but can be made more so.  As it stands now, it only uses complete champion, complete warrior, and the PHB. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"

"Your advice is the worst"

As it stands I don't exactly know what the Barbarian/Druid wants to do in future levels, but he is usually the 'Intimidate then Beat the Crap Out of NPC then Ask Questions' type of character, so more likely that the raging super barbarian is looming on the horizon than a druid focus. And actually he kind of shot himself in the foot with the Barb/Druid multiclass because of the whole 'Druids can't wear metal armor or they lose spellcasting ability' restriction. If I do add a sweet item for him it will likely be an AC booster, a cool Wondrous or something that would make up for his tendency to take more damage.
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.