Should I allow an Artificer and a Ranger Beastmaster into a well.... CharOp Party?

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Yes, I know, I come here every single week with a new question, but I'm learning to be a better DM thanks to all of you, and I hope I'm the one answering questions in a future.

My first 5 players had issue with their characters, and as many of you pointed me out before, it would be ok to check out the Handbooks with them... So, I did, and they built quite strong players. Now the cleric roams trough the batterfield with her magnificent AC and surgeless healing, while the Rogue is practically unhittable and exploits frostcheese; the Wizard isnt' much less with the articact we crafted for the party and his summons, and of course we have the Barbarian making his awesome power smashes... and then, the Ranger died at the end of Heroic.

He got close to me and asked:


"Can I play a Ranger Beastmaster?"

According to the Ranger's  Hanbook.... it terribly SUCKS. AND we're paragon heroes now. This guy is VERY stubborn, and quite competitive... he was allways ducking it out with the barbarian to see who damaged more. I already tried to explain the character build is considered sub optimal, but he nays and says "The fighter that comes with us from time to tima has a Fey Beast companion you guys tailored, why can't you help me tailor a beast companion that makes the class more useful?". I told him the Fey Beast tamer was a better oprion, but he finds the Background unsavory, and that it hasn't enough of beats powers and usages (which I think it's true). Then the party supported him at making together his very own custom beast companion, even the Barbarian says we could tailor it to be a gooood damage dealer ¬¬

As if it wasn't enough, the Cleric has to attend her afternoon lessons, and her mother won't let her come to play with us until weekends... SO a friend offered up to be an.... Artificer :D As far as I know the class sucks...

The players are OK with the Beast Mastery Style "tailored to be better", which I think I'll have to consult on the Char Op section immediatly... However it's clearly obvious they're not happy with the Artificer idea, since we use the Handbooks as our Optimiation bible now...

I'm afraid to tell this guy he won't be of much use... to TELL THEM, since I pretty much think this will suck; I want to say "no, you can't", but it's their characters and their fun.. and I want to know, out of optimization, how can I mix them up to make this harmonic :/

Thanks guys. 
This game is about the players. 

As a DM its your rsponsible to make them happy.

Let the player play what they want.

I have a group of players that when they built their orginal party each build what they wanted.  They didn't work well as a group, eventually they got captured and I had them build a new group.  This time they built the group together and did thier best to complament each other in combat.

The second party saved the first and everyone except for one player kept the second character to play. One of the players chose to play her original character.

With two controllers in the group (1 Enchanter, 1 Druid) the on occasion get annoyed at each other in combat when they get in each others way. But everyone has fun and thats all that matters.

Beastmaster are not optimal in terms of damage for a Ranger but they have greater flanking abilities and I beleive the companion can be buffed.

Artificers don't have the massive healng potential as the cleric but they do have great buff/debuff powers.  My party has an Artificer and they totally abuse Punishing Eye particularly with Magic Missile when dealing with elite opponents as well as buffing up his blast, or burst powers.

IIn my opinion out of all the leader classes Artificers can make a single player feel like a total and efficent opponent killer.

One way to look at it is this:  An opponent can only be completely stopped if they are dropped to 0 hit points or lower. In that regard removing the opponents hit points is key.  An Artificer has options that can do this in spades, this should include the Beastmaster's Companion.

Give a rogue Punishing Eye and Magic weapon and even if they only have 16 in required stats still get a +6 bonus to damage to each and every attack they perform.  So a character who can attack multiple times in a round (standard, move, interrupt, action point) can use that damage bonus to great effect.

All in all look at the postive not at the negative here, it may not be the same gameplay the goup is used to but it can still be effective.




artificers are not sub-par.  Beast master rangers are only sub par if they take beast powers instead of the usual ranger stuff.
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artificers are not sub-par.  Beast master rangers are only sub par if they take beast powers instead of the usual ranger stuff.



Thus rendering the beast a useless flesh shield and flanking dummy :/

Aldath you are the dm.  You can bring any charactor up to par of other optimized charactors in the party easily.  As easy as giving the sub-optimized chars better magical items tailored to them to even the playing field, or twicking any part of the charactor as you and the player see fit.

This shouldn't be a problem to you, the dm, at all, if you think outside the box to make it happen. 
Honestly the only concern here is if the players get upset about the imbalance of power.  Your players don't seem to be high-op (at least from what you have posted previously) so it really doesn't matter much.

All that being said, if you REALLY wanted a way to get around it.  Suggest playing a ranger with Fey Beast Tamer.  That may solve both of your problems if you are worried about a power gap.
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artificers are not sub-par.  Beast master rangers are only sub par if they take beast powers instead of the usual ranger stuff.



Thus rendering the beast a useless flesh shield and flanking dummy :/



First, use inherent bonuses for the Beast (+1 ATK, +1 DMG, +1d6 Critical damage at levels 2/6/11/16/21/26). This will take care of some of the Beast's attack and damage scaling issues.

Edit: After doing some number crunching, inherent bonuses allow the Beast to keep up w/ the Ranger in accuracy, and not horrible in damage (nowhere near the damage the a damage op'd Ranger could put out without the beast, however).
artificers are not sub-par.  Beast master rangers are only sub par if they take beast powers instead of the usual ranger stuff.



Thus rendering the beast a useless flesh shield and flanking dummy :/



better that than having a useless pet and a useless ranger
Another option is to consider the Companion and the Ranger as an extention of each other.

If you go this route you could justify using the Ranger weapon damage for the beast damage.
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